thank you to all who have taught me how to pipe rosettes

March 22, 2006 at 6:53 am (reflectionary)

piping buttercream is now my favorite meditative ritual. its like painting, only, the canvas is an edible, shareable 9-inch circle or rectangle.

part of the theory of “each one, teach one”, (coined by frank laubach, the “father” of literacy) is the idea of active learning, which paolo freire also theorized in pedagogy of the oppressed. this idea of active learning means to use multi-sensory techniques to enrich the learning environment allowing one who is learning to process and absorb information more readily and retain that information.

i’m working on a project at work where active learning is a key component for learners to achieve success in their literacy goals. tonight, we held a cake decorating workshop for learners and tutors. one might think that cake decorating and literacy has no correlation. the facilitators, a learner and tutor, started off having a platonic literacy relationship, until they both realized that they shared one passion – decorating cakes. after enrolling in classes together, they started decorating cakes for friends and relatives. for our organization’s anniversary celebration, they baked and decorated the centerpiece cake. word got out about these two cake phenoms and they created two baby shower cakes for staff at the santa clara county library. and tonight, they patiently taught seven eager deco-wannabes how to make shells, cut a cake into perfect layers and explained to me what a cake belt was and how it would help my cakes bake more nicely.

i never cease to be humbled by those around me, teaching me, through food, that its the sharing process where we learn multitudes about how to be better givers to each other and to ourselves.

thank you.

baking with nanay. bylizelle festejo

i remember the delicious scent of lemon chiffon batter and the thick, pasty taste of it. yet, it was sweet because of the merengue that was the base of the batter. sometimes, she would add strong coffee to it made from three teaspoons of strong folger’s crystals. other times, she would just add ube powder to tint the batter into a deep purple. or was it really just blue and red food coloring? my memory fails me here for all i remember is the house filling up with the warm aroma of freshly baking cake. or the sound of the electric mixer softening the buttercream frosting while the sugar crystals scrape the insides of the bowl. or the time my sister burnt the side of her arm trying to take the spoon to mix away from me. or the deep brown crust of the cake stuck to the insides of the pan after she had turned it over onto a cooling rack where in a little while, it would be ready to frost. in those impatient moments, we would take turns scraping the brown crumbs from the pan with a spoon with very little time and distance between the pan and our mouths.

i wish i saved the recipies she had written for me one summer afternoon where she showed me how to make the cakes my dad remembers having every birthday. together, we went to the store buying a bunt cake pan, softsilk cake flour, lemon extract and a flour sifter, all tools needed to create the perfect delectable cake. i was eager to learn and she, at times, was impatient at my unwillingless to listen and attempts to try to do it my way. despite the miscommunication and mistakes, together we made her famous mocha chiffon cake. and together, we ate it too.


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