Betty Crocker

Age 4 (2009): A young mother and her daughter facing the world together. The daughter expressed an interest in baking and loved being in the kitchen day and night. The mother signed herself up for a culinary class since her daughter was too young to legally be around knives and hot flames. But every night the daughter waited patiently for her to get home. And when she did, the mother showed her everything she had learned in class that day, teaching her the proper techniques of baking. There, amongst all the chaos and danger of this large kitchen, the daughter felt safe.

Age 14 (2020): Amidst a pandemic, a mother and daughter are forced into quarantine. Isolated from family and outsiders for months. They’ve lived with each other for all these years but never truly spent time together alone. With the despair and pain in the world the daughter returns to her roots and continues baking. Each day has its new obstacles and new baked goods. The daughter chooses to bake when she is angry or hurt. When she feels conflicted she turns to her spatula and whisk. So much so that now, the activity that used to fill her with peace is ruined. She is forced to listen to her thoughts and face the truth about herself and the world around her, with no crutch. Her fantasy ends, when she realizes that baking cannot fix her life. So she sloppily decorates her cakes and confuses measurements while trying to see through her tears. The daughter is bitter and angry with herself, because at the end of the day this mother daughter duo no longer has the same spunk as before. People no longer envy what they had or their dedication to each other. Their relationship doesn’t resemble the culinary masterpieces that they used to make, it can only be likened to dull boxed cake mix.

I gather my ingredients for baking. June 8 , 2020.

Prepare your work station for baking.

I opened my phone to another video of police brutality against protestors. I normally feel numb to these sorts of situations.

Heat oven to 350 F for shiny metal pan or glass pan.

Combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large bowl.

As the curve flattens, I want to rejoice because I am almost able to be free but I can’t feel happy knowing that thousands of Americans didn’t live to see these moments.

 It broke me when my mom called to tell me that she was laying on a stretcher in the Emergency Room.

Beat batter vigorously by hand for 2 minutes.

I thought about those who were outside protesting during the curfew, and how they had put their lives on the line. I felt selfish for staying inside but I knew that the NYPD wouldn't hesitate to sprinkle me with rubber bullets or roll me out with a car.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Each day I feel more distant from my family and, no matter how hard I try, I can’t reconcile the past.

Cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before frosting.

I bake for the sentiment, to have somewhere that I am in complete control and can control the outcome of any situation. The time spent standing by my countertop has become so mundane because I now realize that I can’t run from reality anymore. The level of perfection I once had is gone, and it scares me that I know it doesn’t bother me.

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