Baking is often a solitary activity. When I don't have two certain little kitchen helpers by my side, I stand at my kitchen bench - measuring, stirring, and folding with only the thoughts in my head to keep me company. I guess that is what makes the online baking space rather special. It connects us to bakers the world over. We share our recipes, our triumphs, and our failures. We gather a wealth of inspiration and ideas and then implement them in our own kitchens. We connect over a mutual love and understanding of what it means to be surrounded by the aromas of comfort and contentment and that with every cake, cookie, muffin, and slice shared, we spread joy - a conduit for connection.
This is how I met Kath @kulinaryadventuresofkath . Little did I know all those years ago upon hitting our first likes and posting comments on Instagram that an opportunity would present itself in the form of planning an afternoon tea for a group of wonderful women (and two marvelous men) at Kath's stunning family home in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. It just goes to show that life only continues to surprise and delight in so many ways.
There are so many people in Sydney and her surroundings that I have connected with through the magical squares of Instagram. These bonds created with people whom I had never met face to face. It's funny isn't it, this world we live in, but my goodness does it open up so many doors that may have not been possible without these social media platforms. And so I took this opportunity and I put it out there to Kath and Dimi (founder and creator of @celebratebydimi and @inspiredtable) this idea of bringing an online community together in "real life". Thankfully they both jumped on board without a moment of hesitation. And that is how I came to be in the kitchen with Kath, The Pav Queen herself! (and my goodness was The Pav perfection). So too was the light-as-a-feather sponge - we marveled at the height when it was pulled from the oven - a collective gasp. Dimi arrived with a container full of exquisitely executed sausage rolls. Drawers were opened, with questions of "Where do I find the mixing bowls?" "teaspoons?" "Knives?" as Mum and I navigated our way around Kath's kitchen.
We stopped momentarily to refuel with bowls of tomato and bacon soup and crusty bread with lashings of butter, prepared by Kath's mum, Sandra, whilst sitting at the large timber table which would carry an array of edible delights the very next day. When that day arrived it was met with excitement (it happened to be my birthday too) curdled with a dose of nerves. The final flourishes were added - swooping crowns of cream adorned the cakes. dollops of jam glistened, like jewels, atop mini scones. A dusting of cinnamon. Pretty China tea cups set, all the while a blanket of blue covered the sky and as the Sydney sunshine sparkled over the guests who meandered down the garden path, we welcomed them with open arms and greeted them with smiles from ear to ear. Very quickly those nerves dissipated and the following two hours were a gift.
That weekend will be forever remembered. A weekend that saw the power of social media bringing a group of people together who may otherwise have never met in a non-digital world. There is something to be said about the good that can come out of it all, and that is that when you combine the two - the real world and the digital online world - anything can happen if you let it.
I certainly felt the magic over this particular weekend. No longer a solitary baker standing in my kitchen in my humble white weatherboard seaside home. Instead, a baker united - measuring, stirring, folding, (and sifting) in a kitchen full of women creating food to share; food to nourish; and most importantly, food to connect.