Monday, October 6, 2014

My First Baking Class

My sister Miriam taught me to bake when I was little. My first batch of cookies made alone at age 8 not even the dog would eat, as I confused a tablespoon with a teaspoon. ;) But while I am by no means a gourmet baker, making bread and other goodies soon became a favorite of mine, especially if I was making them for others.

So while we get yummy Chinese food from our neighbors - they often bring over some of what they have for dinner! - I share baked things with them, since they're harder to come by in a land where most people don't have ovens. Our neighbor has a small oven, though, and she asked for the recipe of a cake I made her for her birthday. She made it, posted a picture on a social media site, and her friends asked where she learned to make it. When she said it was from me, they asked if I would do a class to teach them.

 So on Saturday afternoon, I lugged a box of supplies over to the community building in our apartment complex. I was a little nervous, and my hands shook at first as I started mixing up the cake. But asking everyone to tell me their name at the beginning helped break the ice, especially when one man just held out his name bag - written in Chinese - which made me shrug in a "I have no clue" way and everyone laughed. :)

 My neighbor did an amazing job translating as I demonstrated the steps, and she took these pictures for me. One of the ladies brought along ingredients to make the cake too.

 I thought it was going to just be a small gathering of moms, but quite a few of all ages came out! It was a fun group.

As the cake was baking, I showed how to make frosting, and then pulled out cupcakes I'd made that morning. I figured if they tasted it, they'd be more likely to make it later themselves!

 The kids especially had a fun time meticulously icing theirs, and 20 cupcakes disappeared fast and "Hěn hào chī" (very good to eat) was said quite a few times. Our family's favorite birthday cake of chocolate oatmeal has now gone global!

As the cake was still cooking, I demonstrated how to make banana bread, something that was very easy to find all of the ingredients for. I'd also made a loaf that morning, and it was somewhat dramatic when I poured the batter I'd just mixed in a bowl, and then uncovered the loaf I'd baked. They all clapped. :) 

 The pieces of bread disappeared in a flash with some coming back for seconds, so it was a hit!

The preparation, occupying most of the morning and some the previous week, confirmed to me why I'm not taking on teaching right now, as I don't like outside things diverting my time and energy from my family and responsibilities at home. My neighbors offered to find me a job at a school teaching ballet, but that season has passed for me. But this, as a rare occurance, was fun. Ryan took care of Hadassah more that day, and it was fun to share something I enjoy with people that didn't have much experience with it.

It was also really fun to be able to bless the community that has so blessed and accepted us. We truly feel loved by those surrounding us. The Bible talks about how the Israelites in captivity were to seek the good of the country in which they were now living, and while we're not in captivity - we chose to come here - I think it still applies. This was a small way to do it.

And now I know more names, more faces. I got to enjoy the wonder of children watching something delicious come together. I got helped by some sweet grandmas with the cleanup (and realized how messy I am when I bake with no sink close by!). And my neighbor sent me more pictures posted on their social media site, saying there were many likes, people were planning to make their first cakes, and that "They decided you as very skillful and considerate and capable." I'm praying that it's not just that they see me, but that the love of Christ shines through me.

Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity.


  1. How wonderful! What an incredible opportunity! Keep it up, Anna, you are amazing.

  2. This is Helen-
    We eat banana bread too! We make ours in small squares though. You are a great baker! Looks yummy!

  3. This is wonderful on so many levels. I'm thankful you were a blessing to them, I'm thankful you had a creative outlet where you could help others, and I'm thankful you were able to use your skills and talents. It's wonderful that they are offering you even more opportunities. They will see your concern and caring for others, and that will naturally point them to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith! -- Donna Jo