Baking Brings Bounteous Boons

Adithi Ganesan, Club Contributor

Recently, there have been numerous baking trends covering simple, quick, and delicious recipes dominating social media. Baking shows like “Master Chef” and “The Great British Bake Off” on streaming platforms mesmerize their audiences with elegant demonstrations of recipes, while others, such as LASA senior Devon Hobbs, rush to their kitchen inspired. 

Hobbs likes to experiment with her recipes when she bakes. She says that the end result of baking is not the same every single time, so knowing the possibilities of a recipe as being either a success or turning out to be inedible is to just accept it and try once more. 

“Nothing turns out the same every time you do it,” Hobbs said. “Different people can try to make up the same thing, but it will turn out to be different. Whether you don’t do a very good job and completely fail, or you do an amazing job, you just keep going and accept it. It’s just fun to share it with people.” 

According to Hobbs, some LASA students with challenging classes and packed schedules also need to allocate time for fun activities to decompress and disconnect from things they are worried about. This is the reason Hobbs created the Baking Club at LASA. Last year, when they weren’t able to have meetings in person because of the COVID pandemic, the students still wanted to continue the idea of a local group by assigning “swap buddies:” partners who have to make something and exchange with each other. 

“These groups have to make something for each other,” Hobbs said. “Even if people are making something, you also have some people sitting down together, eating and talking with each other. It’s a community.” 

For students like freshman Margaret Fonterra, baking is an activity that connects her with her family. She bakes common desserts like cookies and cakes, along with traditional Mexican foods with her mother and her siblings. 

“I got interested, honestly just by observing my mom,” Fonterra said. “I always look over the counter and just observe how she just uses measuring cups, gets exact measurements with great patience and even seeing it makes a great influence on people. The process actually starts out with just simple ingredients like egg, flour, baking soda, things that just seem like nothing, but combining them, having the patience to knead the dough, popping it in the oven, taking it out, and seeing your creation come to life and being able to taste it and share with others.” 

Baking is commonly known for comfort foods, engaging processes, recipes, the ingredients, being able to make connections with new people, and sharing delightful treats with others, according to Fonterra. 

“Having the patience, the care to knead the dough, to cut it out. Like refrigerate it if you have to,” Fonterra said. “And then popping in the oven and just taking it out and seeing your creation come to life and being able to like, taste it and share with others. That is my favorite part of baking.”

One important characteristic of baking that both students agree upon is its therapeutic nature. They give their full attention to a specific task while baking, which makes them forget those factors that cause them stress, according to Fonterra.

“For me, it’s more like a stress relief,” Fonterra said. “I get to focus on getting this flour to be the exact measurement. I feel calm and more concentrated. I get my thoughts together in the process.”

A study that was done by the Smithsonian showed that baking and cooking were great ways to decrease stress and help people find satisfaction. Senior Jack Long agrees that baking is a great way for students to relax. 

“Baking is meditative,” Long said. “I think everybody should at least try it, because there’s a lot of stress at school, and if everybody just tries, baking can really help some people.”

Long said that while baking, there are many things one should focus on, and being able to accomplish many tasks in a short amount of time is a very helpful and important value not just in baking, but can be used in daily activities in general. Having this control helps him improvise his recipes. 

“It’s super fun, but it’s definitely a skill to learn,” Long said. “I think it just helps me to be a creative person. I am not super gifted at art or music, but when I have something that I want to create, I am able to do it through baking.”