Get Your Bake On
The second novel in Laurel Remington's delicious Secret Cooking Club series, Confetti & Cake, is out now! Laurel has stopped by our blog to chat about why she loves The Great British Bake Off (who doesn't?)!
‘How many of you watch Bake Off?’
I often begin my school visits with this question. I don’t know why, but I’m still vaguely surprised when nearly every hand in the room shoots up. Children as young as eight are happy to discuss the ups and downs of Cake Week, how to tell if bread is under-proved, and of course, how to avoid a ‘soggy bottom’. Best of all, they’re happy to talk about their own school bake-offs – an increasingly popular activity.
I was lucky (though my mid-section may beg to differ) to be able to judge a bake-off at a local school, and what struck me about the creations was the sheer amount of enthusiasm, energy, and creativity that went into every cupcake, biscuit, brownie and slice of cake that I had the privilege to sample. Whatever you may think of The Great British Bake Off, its infamous move to Channel 4, and the ‘talent’ who have become multimillionaires, it seems to me that the spark it’s generated among young people is extraordinary and positive.
Why is it that baking has suddenly become so popular with children? I think it’s partially due to fact that Bake Off has elevated food to new artistic medium. Children are, by their nature, creative and expressive. In addition to painting, writing, and other artistic pursuits, baking has now become a way to express themselves (and make a legitimate mess in the process). The other thing is that baking can be a very social activity. While children can ‘share’ a painting they’ve made by hanging it on the wall or showing other people, food can be shared in a more literal way, and everyone can get a ‘slice’ of the action.
In my Secret Cooking Club books, main character Scarlett has her problems, but the food, fun, and friendship of her cooking club help her to get outside of her own head, and put her life in perspective. For her cooking is creative, social, but also therapeutic. While hot chocolate and a slice of cake can’t solve every problem, it can sometimes be a good place to start.
So when The Great British Bake Off starts again in August, on a new channel and with a new format, I’ll be watching. I’ll look forward to seeing the amazing creations and getting into the drama of which hopeful bakers stay, and who has to go. And I’ll look forward to meeting many more children in the autumn who’ve been inspired to ‘get their bake on’ and make something wonderful.