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What I learnt on COVID lock-down: Take a Break, Bake a Cake

I remember the last time I tried baking. It wasn’t considered edible by the freelance food critics that I live with at home, and so as a victim of poor shopping choices, I have not baked until the most recent COVID lockdowns.

Fiji is experiencing its second wave of COVID, and the increasing number of cases caused the main island of Viti-Levu to go into several full lockdowns as part of the Ministry of Health’s efforts to carry out contact tracing.

With no clear end to the lockdowns in sight, panic shoppers including myself, hit Suva’s supermarkets in search of essentials in bulk.

Admittedly, when I did my family’s grocery shopping before the four-day long 24 hour curfew, it was not a well-thought out exercise, and quickly became a shopping trip which lived up to the “panic buying” expectation – except for perhaps overbuying toilet paper.

All I could gather was bags of flour, rice, sugar and other essentials. Amidst the mass shopping hysteria, I bought two big containers of margarine, I don’t even know why as my family only eats Rewa butter - this caused quite some chaos within my family.

Within the first hour of the four day long curfew, I realized I had made a critical shopping error, forgetting to buy bread (oh dear).

My family staged a protest, giving up on breakfast crackers for tea. In fear of having to spend the next four days locked-up with my family, I went on YouTube to look for recipes and tutorials on how to make home-made bread and other pastries.

I am no Gordon Ramsay but I tried my best. Luckily we had some baking condiments, which proved to be a lifesaver.

I am bad when it comes to measuring ingredients, especially when a measuring cup is not easily found in a typical Fijian household. “Add 100 grams of sugar” - yeah that does not work with me.

But as they say, “Practice makes perfect” and I certainly had a lot of time for practice and mastered a range of baked goods including cakes, buns and roti.

I think my baking has improved as my family now consider my baking edible, and they are talking to me again.

More importantly, I realized that while things can be beyond our control, the time we have in our lives and how we choose to spend it is something we can control. I was happy to use the time productively to get better at baking and treat my family and inspire a baking revolution at Haniff Tuitoga Lawyers, which even saw my boss Feizal attempt fruit scones.

Do you have any lessons from your COVID lockdown?


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