Thursday, June 8, 2023

The official student newspaper of Methodist Ladies' College, est. 2020

Cooking through lockdown: a student produced cookbook!

This article details the process that year 11 students Yan, Olivia, Jeanette and Zimo went through to put together a cookbook. You can get the full recipe book by emailing one of the authors, looking up an old student daily (31st July 2020) or look out for the article posted on our website soon! (

COVID-19 has brought about masks, hand sanitizer and lockdowns. While we stagger to familiarize ourselves with the separation along with the rest of the world, the newfound solitude has surprised us with unexpected outcomes, making small but significant changes, or perhaps improvements to our lives, that would probably never had occurred if not for the pandemic.

As students with an interest in cooking, we have always planned to publish an online cookbook for our CAS project. Face-to-face learning has become something we learned to cherish these days, yet it is nonetheless much more time-consuming than remote learning. We were abruptly blessed with a few extra hours to ourselves each weekday as soon as online lessons commenced, which has left us rather disoriented as we proceeded to reschedule our routine. It started with a bit of procrastination for me personally, which progressed to erratic sleep schedules that resulted in continuous exhaustion. Moving into the first term break this academic year, I was becoming slightly intimidated by the amount of work I have left undone from the term and began to be overwhelmed by my fluctuating time management. I began to focus excessively on my work, omitting the time for rest in order to compensate for that I have wasted as the stress of academics gradually builds up simultaneously.

It was during this time when we first initiated discussions on the blueprint of the cookbook. The 4 of us agreed to each try out 5 recipes throughout the holidays and if necessary, adjust the procedures and ingredients suggested as we experiment with them so to offer personal advice to our readers. Ironically, it was the compulsory nature of the task that moulded my life back into shape. Our recipes included those for snacks, main courses and desserts, but the ones I chose were mainly of baked goods, as they were relatively easier for me to handle as a beginner. In order to test the recipes, I specifically set aside time not only to bake, but also prepare the ingredients and kitchenware required and clean up everything I used afterwards. I had contradictory thoughts about the project at first, mostly worrying about the amount of time it would occupy, yet also anticipating the satisfaction of tasting the product. However, my worries were proven unnecessary as soon as I started on my first recipe. The cupcakes and cookies sponges were delicious; both the host family and I have absolutely enjoyed tasting them. At the same time, I thoroughly relished the process of baking. Weighing out the ingredients, putting them together and then watching the batter in the moulds rise in the oven somehow produces a therapeutic effect, helping me to relax unconsciously by distracting me from my responsibilities temporarily. Baking eventually became a habit during quarantine; I find myself looking forward my baking sessions each day, while also finding and attempting more difficult recipes than those I started off with. In a way, the hobby provided me with both a reason to rest and motivation to work each day, which slowly guided me in putting together a sustainable schedule that continued throughout the lockdowns.
I remember struggling to name the cookbook as we combined our recipes together. In the end, we settled with “COVID Chefs”, which seems to be the most accurate conclusion of our experiences. I cannot speak on behalf of the others, but COVID has undeniably turned me into a chef (or perhaps half a chef) and I would definitely take my experiences with the project into the (hopefully) COVID-free future. Do go have a look at our cookbook on the daily – perhaps it would enlighten you just like how it did on me!

Check it out here!


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