On empowering baking

Tea Houses (or tearooms) are by and large a growing and trendy business amongst middle class young adults (aged 20 to 40) in the western societies.

The afternoon tea has been around since the 19th century, but only recently have I been made aware of it’s soothing and relaxing benefits, (if like me, you are not one to worry in excess about your weight and the amount of calories ingested a day). The luxury of indulging yourself in the richness of a three tiered stand of cakes full of colour and flavour is something short of paradise.

Imagine living in Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party, or in a world like Hansel and Gretel’s, without the evil witch or even in a more 21st century pop style candy land like the one in Katy Perry’s California Gurls video. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

And so going out for tea and cake on a Saturday afternoon with your girlfriends is almost as fulfilling as going out on a Girls Night Out.

There are many absolutely fascinating tea rooms around, like The Russian Tea Room, Alice’s Tea Cup and Babycakes in New York NY, or the Hummingbird Bakery, Primrose Bakery, Bea’s of Bloomsbury Cakes and The Breakfast Club in London, all of these amongst many others around Europe and the USA.


In September this year Black Dog Publishing, published a great little book by Zena Alkayat called Tea & Cake London. This little gem, lists some of the most amazing Tea Houses in London, (warning: this book can turn out to be dangerous if you use it more as a to do list rather than just a reference book).

My idea when I bought the book was to go to one of these Tea houses per month until I have checked them all off the list. Well the only problem with this otherwise perfect plan is that committing to such list would leave me broke as some of these are still targeted to upper society persons and thus are quite expensive.

And so started the idea of having more Tea Parties, either because I need signatures for a petition or because it’s Christmas, anything is a good reason to do so… The fact is that as the very crafty person I am, I grew very fond of the art of baking.

The question that came to my mind was: Does this mean I am not a feminist? Am I going back in time throwing away everything we have been fighting so hard for?

Well, in short NO!

Baking is no longer just a job for mothers and wives who get recognition by feeding their families but more of a craft that has become more and more popular amongst women and men alike of our generation.

In conversation with a group of friends, we concluded that up until our grandmas’ generation the act of cooking and baking was forced upon themselves by the patriarchy, whereas from the 60’s revolution onwards our mothers were given the option, and thus most of them decided not to bake or to do so only sporadically. With the beginning of this century things changed and baking as well as a lot of other crafts is becoming a trendy, revolutionary and savvy act. With global warming, carbon footprint and recession/credit crunch rising in the last decade, urban self-sufficiency, foraging and permaculture have become big things amongst young families with more and more people cultivating, crafting, cooking, building and indeed baking.

Baking has become so elegant even if cute and charming even if professional, so as you can see a lot of these Tea Houses if not the majority are run by women. This talent makes baking an empowering tool, used by entrepreneurial, independent, strong and extremely talented women who use their skills to make their mark on the world.

Thus as an empowering tool, I will take upon perfecting my baking as one of my New Year’s resolution. I will embrace my freedom of choice, of saving and of putting an artistic touch to everything I do, acknowledging as I do so that there are still a lot of women in this world that do all these tasks out of obligation instead of pleasure and fun.

Thank goodness for choice and freedom, so may one of our New Year’s resolution be to make these valuable things something available to all!


Happy New Year everyone,


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