It’s a Piece of Cake
It’s a Piece of Cake
  • Cho Ye-yeun (Muenjae 19)
  • 승인 2020.09.03 14:55
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Have you ever baked a cake for yourself? I, for one, could not say I was experienced in baking. But it has been different for me ever since I stayed in the U.S. last semester. My aunt, who has been living in the U.S. for 30 years, made my sister a cake on her birthday. I was surprised as it seemed common for Americans to bake on special occasions. Is baking that easy? I felt like I should try.
Once I started baking, I realized that it was simpler and more fun than I thought. Following YouTube tutorials, all I had to do was whip, mix, and chill. It was okay even if I did not have enough tools—I once made cylinders with aluminum foil before I bought a muffin mold. Also, I could readily get baking ingredients at reasonable prices from local stores. The ingredients seemed costly at first, but they became pennies on the dollar when I started to bake regularly.
Baking was easy, yet the outcome was splendid. When I handed out baked goods, people enjoyed my treats and gave compliments. It was a pleasure to see my loved ones pleased. Moreover, I could make desserts just as I desired. By adding or taking away ingredients, I could create flavors of cakes as I imagined. When I made a chocolate cake, I chopped some praline pecans and put them into chocolate ganache which made it richer and crunchier. These reasons make home baking exciting to me. I have been absorbed in baking for three months and have tried to make baked goods ranging from whipped cream cakes to apple pound cakes and egg tarts.
Why do we find baking cumbersome? It could be that the environment in Korea is different from that of America. Finding suitable baking ingredients might require more effort in Korea. Moreover, you may not feel the need to bake at home, because there are a lot of delicious bakeries around. But I felt like there was more to it. I believe it is the difference in culture rather than the difficulty in accessing baking.
In foreign fairy tales, we come across a grandmother baking a cake or pie for their grandchildren using her secret recipe. A tale is not just a story: tales reflect the culture of the country. As of Korean traditional fairy tales, a grandmother boiling red bean porridge is much more familiar than a grandmother baking pie in our minds. 
Now, think about TV shows. We can also witness the influence of culture through them. There are many popular baking shows in the States. I enjoyed watching baking competition programs like Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Netflix. But are there such TV shows in Korea? I witnessed many cooking competitions but no baking shows.
Therefore, I concluded that differences come from our cultures, our thoughts, and our ancestors’ lives. Bread is no more difficult to make than red bean porridge. Certainly, some cultural differences have huge impacts on our lives. That is why a rice cooker is more common than an oven in a Korean kitchen and boiling porridge feels easier than baking bread to us. Nonetheless, we must keep in mind that most cultural practices are determined by geographical features. In an era where these traditional constraints are negligible and everything is accessible via the internet, why not try a new hobby like baking?