Today I am in love with baking. Which I can indulge in via the magic of internet, while simultaneously sitting at my desk pretending to work. God bless the internet. It transports me to warm British flats with floury counters, or countryside ranches cooking dinner for the family. Comforting, and calorie-free.
As opposed to cooking, I think baking has this image of being quiet, unhurried, soothing. It’s light and pastel, often rubbing elbows with doilies, candies and tea. It’s done by happy, maternal women who give good advice.
Sometimes I watch The Pioneer Woman and pretend she’s my mother, and it always calms me down. Not to say I would trade her for my real mother, but I think a lot us could use more than one. More wisdom, more patience, more love and more food. I would love to experience that ultra-American ritual of coming home to a baked good and a glass of milk and being inquired about my day.
And being called chickpea, or sweetiepie–I never forgot the teachers who’ve used those on me. So saccahrin, I’d be taken aback at first, wondering if I deserved it. Receiving such maternal care from adults was never something I expected, bring from such a different culture. Sometimes I wondered if my white teachers themselves felt they were crossing an invisible cultural line by placing their terms of endearments on me, but I so loved when they did.
Maybe if baking were in China’s culinary vernacular, more Chinese parents would be more patient and gentle. Using a soft hand and giving children time to rise into their own. On the other hand, there are way too many Chinese food rituals I would never give up. And we have our own pet names. And I like playing with the stick my mom used to hit me with during piano practice. When I have kids, I’ll get to bring them the best of both worlds. Maybe I’ll bake baguettes to beat them with.