Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Luke-sensei’s Christmas Bake: How I Was Stereotyped Into Leading My English-Elective Girls In a Baking Session


Yesterday my Japanese teaching partner was absent due to illness. The triumphs of the day resulting from my brief totalitarian regime—suffice to say there will be no more of that “Mr. Luke” nonsense—are another story. The telephone dialogue pertinent to today’s tale ran something like this:

Her: “Luke-sensei, last year Aaron-sensei made rice crispy treats with the English-Elective girls.”
Me (internal monologue only): “What the blazes does that have to do with me? If I ever get my hands on that Aaron guy . . . .”
Her: “The girls really want to do something like that again, and tomorrow is their last elective period before the winter break.”
Me: “Okay.”
Her: “Do you have something you can make with them?”
Me: “I can get some recipes together by tomorrow, no problem.”
Her: “Okay, give me a call later and tell me what ingredients I should bring.”
Me: “Okay, I hope you feel better soon.”


Well, what do you know, her cell-phone was out of range all day. There I was with a recipe for whacky cake and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies . . . should I? Yes. I went shopping for the ingredients myself. Fortunately I bumped into my supervisor’s daughter, or I never would have found the lard. As it was, no baking soda, but what’s this? B-A-K-I-N-G P-O-W-D-E-R. That should do. And what the heck! “Vanilla Essence.” “Vanilla Oil.” This recipe only says “vanilla.” Ehhh, just go with the oil. Come on, people. I don’t bake. I haven’t baked since elementary school, and that was way back when I was still playing Barbie-dolls with my little sisters. Fortunately I have a secret weapon— my little sisters. And they all have MSN Messenger. So, who’s online? Anna. Yay, Anna! Show time is next period, but that’s enough time for Anna to assure me that many people feel that vanilla oil is the superior choice for baking and that “1 tsp baking soda = 3 tsp baking powder.” Everybody has a good time, I translate and print the recipes for some of the girls, and I am left with an overwhelming sense of guilt that I have become complicit in the propagation of yet another stereotype—“ALTs are court jesters to be exploited as resources for fun-time.”


The Girls Mix the Cookie Dough While Carefully Avoiding Eye-Contact with the Camera


Posing with “Group Whacky Cake” While Washing Up