Well another two weeks have gone by and my baking endeavour continues. Jumping right in to de Bono’s work, he talks about how listening is one of the most important aspects of learning, and if done well, you can obtain much greater value out of what the person is saying. I have definitely found myself listening much more than talking in the first few weeks of my mentorship. I have been trying to pay attention to all the details and fully understand what my mentor is saying.
Through all the pieces I have been picking up during my mentor sessions over the past few weeks, they seem to be forming a single picture as they come together, a secret ingredient you could say. But this ingredient may not be what you expect. From all the intricate designs of icing, and complicated recipe steps, the secret ingredient is the most simple of all.
What I have gathered so far as the key to baking, is that it is not solely your knowledge or skills in the area, but rather your creativity and joy for baking.
Once you have these, you can make anything; the possibilities are endless. Your creativity will take you to the next level, and the touch of a perfect cake is really the touch of the heart.
Continuing, while I have only been saying a little, a lot of what I have been saying is questions. Expanding on this, using de Bono’s two types of questions, fishing and shooting, I have mostly been asking shooting questions. Some of the questions I will ask are things like “Is this the right shape/size/thickness?”. I generally ask these questions to confirm and check on the techniques I have been taught, and am practicing, to ensure I am executing them correctly.
One question that I asked using a multiple choice format was “Do you flip them because they are thicker or because there is more in them?” I used this when we were removing some cookies from the oven to flip before putting back in for a second time facing the other way. I found this question format very useful as it digs even deeper into the topic and in this case caused my mentor to further explain the process. Her answer to my question was actually neither of my two suggestions, which gave me even more reason to have asked the question. As I hadn’t thought of the answer she gave me myself, this gave me more knowledge of why we were doing this. Her answer was that we were actually flipping them to create a more crunchy texture of the cookie, as they were a biscotti style.
Additionally, while spending time with my mentor, our conversations often trail to other topics. This past visit, while waiting for our latest batch of cookies to bake, my mentor told me some tales of her childhood in Croatia. It was very interesting to hear about the different way of life and it gave me a new perspective on some of the things we do here. I again asked some basic questions that spurred more in-depth discussions and explanations.
I am hoping to spend some time this weekend to do some baking of my own and try out some of the techniques my mentor has been teaching me. It should be interesting to see if I can execute the skills without her guidance.
I have been taking photos of all our recipes to keep track of everything we do, and also for practice myself. I may try some of these or try out some of my own. Further to what I talked about earlier on the secret ingredient, her recipes are all written out in hand. She has rewritten them her own style and in very basic form. This allows her to make as she goes, or should I say, bake as she goes, bringing out creativity in every dessert.
I am hoping to capture some of my own baking creativity and bring it to life in some of my own pieces very soon! Brining to life that picture puzzle of the secret ingredient.
P.S. Oh, and sorry, I wasn’t able to capture any pictures of my desserts this time around as they seem to have all magically disappeared somewhere.