By Avni Halabe
“Where there’s a whisk, there’s a way.”
Rafia Muhammad, a first-year Chemical Engineering major, describes herself as Canadian, a foodie, and a boba tea fanatic. Her love for good food extends to not only eating it but making it as well. In SWEet Treats, Rafia speaks about her journey as a baker.
It all began with a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Rafia’s mom, aunt, and grandmother used to make it, and everyone loved the cookies, especially Rafia. Then, when she was about ten, her mother bought Rafia her own cookbook, and Rafia baked her very first batch of brownies by herself. Ever since then, she has become a more experienced baker, challenging herself to create higher quality recipes. When asked why she enjoys baking so much, Rafia says that “the act of baking is really therapeutic and a way for me to destress.” Her passion provides her an escape from the worries of ordinary life.
For Rafia, baked good are something she spreads love with by surprising friends on their birthdays. One of her favorite parts about baking is not the actual process of making an item, but rather “baking for people and seeing their reactions when I give them something.” A true engineer, Rafia holds herself to high standards. She feels most proud of baking a beautiful cupcake bouquet that she made for one of her friend’s birthdays, but while she calls it a “pretty good first try,” Rafia also sees “the flaws in it” and always looks to improve. In the future, she says “I just want to try and bake as many new items as possible – perhaps a fruit pie with a lattice crust.” She advises novice bakers to “stick to the recipe in the beginning,” and once they’ve gotten the basics down, they can “branch out and add their own little flair.”
Rafia’s passion for baking goes beyond something that she simply does for fun; when asked whether baking has influenced her choice of major, she responds that “it definitely has.” At first, Rafia says “baking was just for fun and to try something new, but as I got older I started getting really interested in the chemistry involved and the field of food science.” As a result of years spent baking, she developed a keen interest in the “synthesis of chemicals,” which strongly motivated her to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering.
Baking for Rafia was something that began as a hobby, then turned into a passion, and then began impacting her decisions. She encourages everyone to find an activity they are passionate about as a way of destressing and a source of enjoyment.