Something happened when our PM announced New Zealand's COVID-19 Alert Level 4 Lockdown, I lost my desire to bake at home. Instead my Mum, Janet, has been compelled to bake her way through most days of lock down. Where has my baking-mojo gone?
I've always been a keen baker and pie maker from an early age and that comes from my Mum and Dad. Through my childhood there was always something in the oven or on the stove. My Dad, Bob, always had a big garden with lots of fruit trees, which meant Mum always had to find creative ways to use it all. Dill pickles were often fermenting on the kitchen bench, and the house stank when Dad cooked up his various Romanian dishes. In hindsight it's a wonder I didn't get into the food business sooner.
But a huge shift happened about ten years ago. I started taking over the majority of baking and my Mum took a backseat and stopped baking for the most part. Immersed in everything baking, I was determined to learn as much as I could about the history of dishes and recipes I was making, studying of new techniques, all sorts of ingredients and of course that included lots of research, reading and testing. My Dad was elderly back then and happily 'supervised' and ate anything I produced along with my family. And really, I haven't stopped since.
When Jacinda, our PM, made the announcement that New Zealand was entering a State of Emergency and a 4-week lock down was imminent, I panicked. My brain immediately started listing all the ingredients I didn't have at home. It was clear already that supermarkets had empty shelves. What would happen if I couldn't get yeast? Eggs? Or the dark chocolate I like? Do I have enough almond flour? Pastry flour? Bread flour? Cake flour? Dried fruit? Freeze dried fruit? The list became incredibly long. As we closed up The Pie Piper and Doornuts bakery on K'Rd on that Tuesday, I filled baskets with the ingredients I wanted at home, loaded the car but that's where it stopped.
I've been in lockdown 17-days and I haven't made one baked item, with the exception of Rice Bubble treats (but I don't think they count as baking). Each time I go into my kitchen I see the huge stockpile of baking ingredients but inspiration just isn't there. Instead my baking-mojo seems to have transferred back to my Mum.
Since lock down my Mum, Janet, has been baking up a storm. Almost every two days she's making something else. Today it was bread, yesterday Banana cake, before that chocolate chip cookies, banana pudding, keto scones, welsh cakes, the list is long. The last of the home grown tomatoes have ended up in chili sauce too.
Lock down has given my Mum purpose. She's happily baking for her family again and we're enthusiastically enjoying the results and spending time together.
We have maybe 13 more days in lockdown (if everyone does their bit and stays home). That gives me 13 days to find my baking-mojo with a some inspiration from my Mum, Janet. I'm sure I'll find it especially when I open the door to The Pie Piper and Doornuts bakery again and see my wonderful team.
If you've been baking through lock down, I'd love to hear from you. Be sure to share a photo or two.
Thanks for reading!
Danielle Butler is an entrepreneur and the owner of The Pie Piper & Doornuts, in Auckland, New Zealand. She's an expert baker and creator. Her specialty is in American dessert pies, cakes and other desserts. Danielle has been featured in magazines like Denizen, New Zealand and Australian Women's Weekly, and has been a guest on radio spots, a judge on baking competitions and guest speaker sharing her knowledge of all things baking and entrepreneurship. She wants to empower people to create their own special moments with friends and family through food. Danielle is passionate about combating food insecurity in our communities.
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