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VIRUS DIARY: She Has Her Cake, But Others Can't Eat It, Too

VIRUS DIARY: She Has Her Cake, But Others Can't Eat It, Too

When my birthday rolled around in June, I had to face the fact that, thanks to COVID19, I would not be having cake with anyone. Yet I went ahead and made the cake I really wanted a threelayer, naked strawberry chamomile cake.

PHOENIX: When my birthday rolled around in June, I had to face the fact that, thanks to COVID-19, I would not be having cake with anyone. Yet I went ahead and made the cake I really wanted a three-layer, naked strawberry chamomile cake.

The whole time though, I asked myself: Why was I going to the trouble? Why did I buy a box of chamomile teabags to steep in cream for that perfect filling? Why did I feel the ridiculous need to find edible flowers for cake decorations? The only one who would be physically in the room was the dog. And Penny doesnt care how a cake tastes, let alone how it looks.

One of the great byproducts of this pandemic has been the number of people who suddenly discovered the star baker hiding inside of them. For me, it has been the opposite.

Coronavirus snuffed out what I most enjoy about baking the sharing. Baking is as much a part of my identity as reporting. Its a currency I playfully barter with. Its how I show my sincerest appreciation. Its how I make friends in my community.

Every few months, I knock on the door of the Phoenix Fire Department station down the street from my home to offer homemade cupcakes or cookies. Sometimes its a quick drop-off. Other times, it turns into a chat and a chance for me to ask them about their work. But its been routine enough that theres at least one or two people on each crew who know me.

Now, theres a sign on the door that says closed for public entry. And of course, I wouldnt attempt to give them anything even if I had worn the worlds best PPE in the kitchen.

I also like to bring cupcakes to the staff at the place where I get my massages as a thank you. But I know they couldnt accept them, and Im still too nervous to get a massage.

Knowing I will likely be working from home for the rest of the year, I cant help but feel sad at the traditions I will miss bringing to my newsroom.

At Halloween, I wont be making dark chocolate cupcakes with candy-melt spider webs. And I wont get to serve them in my spooky, eight-legged cupcake holders.

When election night arrives in November, Im not going to show up with sugar cookies shaped like the United States and slathered with red and blue frosting (I make sure that even the baked goods cant be accused of media bias).

As for my birthday cake, I did parade it on a Zoom call with my family, who are all in the San Francisco Bay area. But then it became like one of those mukbang videos the South Korean-grown trend of livestreaming oneself gorging on large amounts of food. Everyone was yelling eat it and requesting that I describe how it tasted. Not the birthday party I pictured.

There was one bright spot. I did end up finding a few friends who were willing to take some cake off my hands. It was too hot to eat outside with any of them, so I donned gloves to package each piece. I either placed it in front of their door like a hotel bellhop or quickly passed it to them like it was a hot potato.

Instead of watching their reactions when they ate my cake (half the fun for a baker), I got told how good it tasted via text.

I know this is trivial compared to what other people are going through because of COVID-19. But I am looking forward to a time when I can, in my own way, make life a little sweeter once again.

___

Virus Diary, an occasional feature, showcases the coronavirus pandemic through the eyes of Associated Press journalists around the world. Terry Tang is a member of the APs Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ttangAP

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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  • First Published: August 28, 2020, 9:14 PM IST
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