Maya Shukla misses attending school and playing with her classmates since the COVID-19 pandemic has kept students at home.
Instead of attending fifth-grade classes at Seattle Country Day School, the 11-year-old Bellevue resident participates in online schooling with her teacher and classmates. When the proverbial end-of-day bell rings, Shukla is transformed into The Bored Baker.
Beginning on March 12, Shukla broke free from her idleness and decided to start a baking blog to pass the time and indulge in some sweet treats. She set a goal to cruise into the kitchen after school and bake every day until in-person classes are back in session.
She let the baking begin with a pizzelle (a traditional Italian waffle cookie) on day one and at press time on day eight, she unveiled a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. With each creation, she writes about how the idea came about and lists the ingredients. She signs each entry as The Bored Baker.
Shukla laughs at the name of the blog and launches into what drove her to put it together:
“My activities were all canceled and so I had a lot of free time. I could always bake, but it would obviously be less time because I had more things to do during the school days. It gave me a chance to just bake, bake, bake. Baking really makes me happy and so it was the solution,” said Shukla, who plays tennis, flute and sings in the choir during normal days. Her favorite school subject is science.
While she created the idea, her mom and dad helped her find the free site on Wix to get things underway.
The pizzelle was an easy one to begin with, she said, noting that it took about 15 minutes to create.
“It just seemed kind of interesting how it would turn out, it was an experiment,” Shukla said. Her mother, Bina, added that it was a winner.
Since family time has become crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maya baked a birthday cake for her older sister in the form of a kladdkaka (a Swedish sticky chocolate cake) on day four. The cake was gone in a day, Bina said with a laugh.
Before becoming The Bored Baker, Maya got in on the baking action about two times a month. Now she’s off and running.
“It’s a big difference,” she said about her improvement in the baking realm. “It makes me in the zone, kind of all I’m thinking about is what I’m mixing or baking.”
Bina noted that the humdrum days have turned into excitement for the family when they gather at dinner and wonder where Maya’s baking adventure will take her the next day.
“It makes it so special in this day where everybody’s worried about things and we have something to look forward to,” Bina said. “I really like that she took the initiative and she’s pursuing (this). I like that spark in her in which she was motivated to do this, and I’m sure this will kind of spill over to different things.”
Maya has inspired her family in India to bake along with her as well. Schools are closed in that country, too, and they follow her blog each day.
For now, Maya’s treats are eaten in-house only, but they are thinking about sharing them with neighbors or delivering some to a shelter when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
During these uncertain times, Maya has a message for other kids who are stuck at home.
“Take something that you really like and just follow it and really go in deep and inspire others,” she said.
Bina said it’s hard on kids to be separated from their friends and activities these days.
“(We’re) hoping that if everybody does their part, we can get over with this situation sooner,” she said.
Follow her blog at, https://boredombaking.wixsite.com/foodie.