the story

There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that. You walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied. You say you have lost all recollection of it, remember. The wild roses flower in the woods. Your hand is torn on the bushes gathering mulberries and strawberries you refresh yourself with. You run to catch the young hares that you flay with stones from the rocks to cut them up and eat all hot and bleeding. You know how to avoid meeting a bear on the track. You know the winter fear when you hear the wolves gathering. But you can remain seated for hours in the tree-tops to await morning. You say there are no words to describe this time, you say it does not exist. But remember. Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent.”

- Les Guérillères, by Monique Wittig.

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I believe in moments of sweetness. I write about it. Rather, I don’t write about it. I outpour it. About places where I went and saw. All the things I never saw. And all the things I could only hope to see. The smoking, sulfuric, streets of Paris. First frost and rolling fog. Wild, thorned, brambles from the forest. Over ripe strawberries and sugared fingers. Stolen roses and torn petals. When the sky was enflamed, my mind was on fire, and I, too, was burning. Memories of wildness and desire, deep-rooted within moments of sweetness.

To live is an outpour. That’s all there is to it. It’s consummation. To lose yourself in loves. To become paralyzed to write. To fight for memories. To burn to feel. To break to live. To slave for sweetness. Not only the sweetness that comes from cake, but the sweetness that lives within all things. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for, sweetness. And it was sweetness that helped me bloom from my broken past. It’s about connection. That’s it really, connection. Food as memory, food as emotion, food to heal, food that gives life. Food as more than just fuel. It’s our common language.

I never thought I would land here. Here, in food. And if I could tell you all the ways that led me here, words would only fail. I only ever wanted to be an artist, a creator. And my pursuit of art took me disorientated down many rabbit-holes, into many furrows, and into many dens. Art is my inferno, my odyssey, my lifeblood, my carnality, and vice. It guides everything I do, not always consciously, but it’s grasp has never left. And food, baking, is my art. It’s my sweet medium. There’s no mistake in you reading this. Our paths have crossed. We’re here. And it’s time we meet. I guess I did become an artist after all.

I come from a generation of European bakers. My memories from childhood are solely built around moments of sweetness. There’s something to be said for the power of a baked good. And I can chart my life upon what was on our table. The supple cinnamon scent of morning, afternoon tannin drenched crumbled morsels, and caramel burnt nights. Ash, smoke, and heat. I live it all. I’m a self-taught baker. And my cooking is based around both memory and flavor, from my European and Asian heritage, childhood, young-adulthood, and travels. In discovering new aspects to the world and myself. It’s about food that forms narrative and memory. We eat with our minds just as much as our stomachs. Eyes too. And these eyes are wide.

And that’s what this space is, food that becomes our personal narrative. Recipes that become your own, stories that grow with you. Sweetness as connection. Sweetness as a means to heal. Sweetness as a way to unite the fractures of light and dark. Sweetness for you, and for me, and for us. Taking time for stillness, for softening, for slow moments in stirring batter, and devouring every bite. Life. Again, eyes wide. It’s lived in. There will be mess and crumbs and stains and spills. Because that’s what it’s all about. Learning to live with ash and ruins. There’s a beauty in brokenness, in imperfection. I know you’ve felt it too, hold onto that.

Included in the depths of these pages are a collection of recipes that tell the story of who I was, who I am now, and who I hope to be. Sweet memories that weave tales of truth, of happiness, of love. Memories. I don’t believe they ever die. Not even when they’re buried under greater ones, more passionate ones, more intense ones, more bloody ones, more burning ones. They live through us, forever. And I fervently fight to retain the strength of mine. To always feel them in me, burning. To obey them. To chart them. To let the world know, I was here too. I was here, I saw, I was, I was, I seethed, I loved, and I left. Often with abandon, without tenderness, and often at a price. I carry them with me. And my memories spread themselves thick over everything I do. Food forms our strongest memory. We all have it. They don’t have to be great. But we have it. I created one. I’m creating one. And with each new post, you’re all invited to a seat with mine.  

Butter and brioche is a beginning, never an end. With each post, I begin again. I forget where I end, where I was, where I begin, where I’m going, what came before me, what came after me. The whole of me, in it now, I am. The night and the story are equally as long, so let’s begin.

- Thalia