Last fall, I decided to write a book I couldn't find: a bilingual Portuguese children's book about baking. My hope was to help my 3-year-old, M, connect with our Portuguese heritage through our shared loved of baking and reading. Since I couldn't find it anywhere else, I decided to make and gift her a book about ABCs in baking.
In a three-month period, I compiled baking terms and ingredients in English and Portuguese for every letter of the English alphabet; asked my mom, cousin, and friends and family for translation and transliteration support; and took pictures of dishes, utensils, and supplies from my own kitchen. My husband, Justin, an amazing graphic designer, generously offered to design the book, including some photo illustration work. I ordered three copies--one for M, one for my mom, and one for my cousin.
I felt pure childish delight the first time I held Baking ABC - English / Portuguese. It was incredible. And then I felt disbelief and awe when people started asking how they could buy their own copies. I began researching bulk orders, putting together a website, and figuring out a system for processing and mailing books. Looking back, I'm proud with how everything came together.
Even with the many hours and late nights, the entire project felt joyful, a feeling that is more distant in the middle of a global pandemic.
Today, I received a shipment of 1,000 books, and I felt that similar surge of joy the first time I held Baking ABC. I can't escape its delight, even during these dimmer days. It is a physical manifestation of many priorities and identities in my life: M, Justin, family, my Portuguese and Azorean heritage, parenting, baking, learning, and writing.
Baking ABC was born about the same time I was invited to teach baking classes at Portland Community College. It has inspired me to create. It has also helped me to strip away "should's" and "no's" stained into my consciousness and to value my own voice. I am now putting myself out into the world in new and unexpected ways.
This book began as a gift for M, and I'm so proud of how that gift has multiplied--in numbers and in spirit. Most importantly, M loves the book her mama made for her. I relish this, and I feel grateful to escape the uncertainty and anxiety of this time, even for a moment.