From about two months ago, news reports of a sudden increase in demand for flour, yeast and other baking products reflected the way in which many tried to deal with the situation they found themselves in.
Pictures - both of successes and failures - of home-baked goods were featured on social media. Everyone was cooking and baking at home since they could not leave the house. It was one thing they could, at least, manage and control, unlike the circumstances of the current pandemic and the various social restrictions that were put into place for authorities.
It is one thing to bake for the sake of baking, and of course quite another to aim for Food Network-pizzazz and flair. Either one might have merits, but they tend to focus on the wrong thing. I have always believed that the joy of cooking is exponentially increased when it is done for and shared with others. The focus shifts to other, rather than oneself, and the need to help those who need it the most. (It has always been a challenge to resist a hungry person.)
Cooking for someone else is a great way to show affection and respect
- an act of service that recognises the dignity of another human being and their basic need to for physical sustenance. The Sugar Maple Cookery Club (originally of Mississauga, Ontario) was founded on this belief back in 2003. Now located in Scarborough, Ontario, it still operates based on is belief, among other equally worthy principles. Club mom, Mrs. Ina Rocha, had her twin daughters, Anne and Therese (pictured below, baking thank you gifts for frontline workers) attending the monthly club activities until March of this year. Then the pandemic took over life as we knew it, and there has not been an actual live, in-person session of the girls club since then. However, Ina saw an opportunity to engage her daughters and other girls in the service of community, while showing gratitude to a group of people whose very work entails the care and management of those who are sick of COVID-19 in hospital. Scarborough General in the east-end of Toronto is one such hospital.
Ina told other club moms about her initiative: to bake some goodies at home and package them for distribution at Scarborough General Hospital, where Ina’s mom, Angie Simon, works. Angie knew that her co-workers would greatly appreciate the gesture of gratitude and effort to honour their work. On May 22nd, Thursday, different families dropped off their home-baked sweet somethings at Ina’s house. About seven families participated and it was a delicious collection of culinary creations which found their way to Scarborough General Hospital on Friday, May 23rd, into the hands of some of the most hard-working people this side of Toronto. Thank you-cards made by the girls were given with the sweets, and these cards were proudly posted on the hospital’s bulletin board for all to see.
Everybody appreciates being recognised for the work they do. It does not take much to say a sincere thank you. Who knew that a blondie or a cookie could make people so happy? Then again, it wasn’t really about just the cookies and the cakes, but more so the grateful act of affection to those who care selflessly for others. It’s the kind of gift that just keeps on giving, long after the sweets have been consumed. Joy remains in the hearts of those who have received, as well as (or probably even more so) for those who have given.