In the unlikely event that people disbelieve me I do have photographic evidence of having been in a baking class. Only the photograph is not mine – it’s the pictures I took. (Oh well… that should help.)
I went for the baking class because of my peripheral love for baking, my newfound love of photography and my undying love for writing. I learnt 5 new recipes, but more importantly, I gained some wisdom on life and learning in the work place. Learning like this:
1.Change is good
I am not much of a homebody, less a cook, or a love-it-in-the-kitchen kind of person. So baking is not something I do very often. Taking a Saturday morning out to learn some fancy new things took my mind off the normal stuff I would have done. The change was good. It refreshed me to come back and look at my daily routine in a new light. (High sugar levels also helped.)
2. There is no substitute for human interaction
The internet is great for recipes but sometimes you need to learn from HUMAN interaction. I could have learnt from a book written by our instructor, the intrepid Anu. But up there, in person, Anu brought so much more to the table – her passion for baking, her stories, her tips and tricks, and handy hints, making everything more interesting, more doable. Also you learn more from a classroom session by listening to the questions others ask. And of course, the answers. You learn from a teacher. And sometimes you learn from the students. At work, calls, video conferences, remote control. All that is great. But it’s the human connection that matters the most.
3. Preparation is important.
One of the less obvious aspects of the class was the prep that went into the actual conducting of the class. Each of the five recipes had a multitude of ingredients. These were obviously weighed out and kept ready the night before (or that early morning). Also, the scheduling of the recipes meant that we didn’t have to wait for any of the dishes to bake. We just moved on to the next item while the earlier ones got done. For the ones that needed some extra time, another batch of dough was already ready to be showcased.
In work too, prep is sometimes more important than the actual event itself. Sometimes preparation is everything. If you are planned well, things do go according to plan. Good learning there.
4. For everything that you do, there’s another way to do it
How often do we hear things like, “This is the way to do it” or “This is the process”. I’d assume baking was a strict science. But for everything there is an alternative. Gluten intolerant? Here’s the answer. Don’t want the sugar? Here’s the replacement. Want to go organic? There’s a list! Surely, this is the way to look at things in the workplace?! There IS an alternative way of doing things. There are options. Explore. Examine. Experiment. Enjoy.
5. Timing is key
Baking teaches you the value of time. It teaches you firstly that things take time – a specific amount of time and you cannot hurry that. And secondly, things have to do be done in a specific time period and you cannot change that. Leave the cake in a little longer and it’s a dry disaster. A little less and it’s an unbaked mess.
Similarly at work. Everything needs to be done in time. Everything needs its required amount of time. Plan. Prepare. Stay with the time and you’re likely to succeed. And remember to not overshoot the time too! Things take time. Get the timing right.
6. Mind the temperature
A doughy batter goes into the oven and heat makes it one of the most irresistible desserts ever. Heat is good. More heat is even better. You realize how heat makes the most inedible substances a gourmet’s delight when you bake. And such is the heat you feel when you work. Every one lands in hot water once in a while. But it’s how your rise above that that really matters. And displays your mettle. Your biggest challenges, your hottest flares, your most trying times are the one that propel you into success. Piece of cake? Sure!
Learning is everywhere. What are you going to learn this Saturday?