My Baking Mentors and Influencers

About a month ago I wrote about my cooking mentors and influencers. Baking was on my mind today, so thought I’d write about who my influencers have been in this area.

In thinking about baking mentors, I really could not pinpoint any one person who served this role for me. A lot of it came from looking through cookbooks, watching Food Network, or seeing something in a store and thinking, “I’m pretty sure I could make that.” So I would look for something similar online and would go from there.

Influencers though, I’ve had many influencers over the years. Yes, many, but not in the manner one might think. My baking influencers have actually been the people who have had my baked goods.

I’ve listened to what their faces say when they taste what I’ve made, the comments, and the requests for more. All of this has informed me.

Some items I’ve only made once, like tomato pie, which I didn’t think was too bad, but the feedback was enough to say never again.

Other items I’ve made many times over the years, like my banana bread. Making this bread, and my zucchini bread, brings me the most comfort. Maybe because of the number of times I’ve made and shared it.

Outside of my family, my major influencers have been the educators I’ve worked with over the years. As an assistant principal, since giving money or time off wasn’t really an option to express my gratitude to the teachers and staff I worked with, I started baking (and sometimes cooking) for them. Cupcakes, banana bread, cookies, muffins, were just some of the goods I’d surprise them with in the teachers’ lounge.

I think the most elaborate themed thing I made was just before summer vacation one year. There was a magazine I had been reading and came upon a beach scene made of baked goods. It had pictures and some instructions on how to make it. I decided I was going to replicate the scene as a foodie send-off for the staff.

As with many baking adventures, it took much longer, and was a little harder to make, than the instructions and recipes lead me to believe. Either that or I was just slow in putting it together. It turned out pretty good and the staff appreciated it. I did make a promise to myself though should I try something like this endeavor again, I’d double the time to make it and edit the scene a bit to make it more manageable.

Thank you to all my family, friends, and colleagues for being my guinea pigs, my taste testers, and consumers of the baking. I hope you enjoyed what I made as much as I enjoyed making it for you!

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