My name is Grace Park. Actually, that first sentence isn’t entirely true. Grace is just an arbitrary, American nickname that my dad chose for me when I immigrated to the United States in first grade. I never thought I’d use the name though – I had been Ji Won for my entire life, all 7 years that is. But, that all changed when I encountered my fourth grade teacher. She didn’t give me some long-winded lecture on assimilation to U.S culture or anything of the sort. She just murdered my Korean name every time she tried to pronounce it. Tired of correcting her each time, I reluctantly gave in, and Grace was born.
But, I digress. My name really has nothing to do with this blog. Whether you call me Grace or Ji Won, baking is my passion – it has been ever since I baked my first creation in sixth grade: the classic, fool-proof Banana Bread. From then on, my dream was to own a bakery, one that would put Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory to shame. Then, I dreamt bigger. I wanted to own my very own 5-star restaurant – a short-lived dream, but a dream nonetheless. Then came a dream to shroud any and all dreams I had ever had: Le Parc. Le Parc is my 4 diamond, luxury hotel that currently exists only in my imagination. It is home to my bakery and restaurant, along with a couple of rollercoasters, waterfalls, and casinos here and there.
Who knows what crazy, ginormous dreams I would’ve conjured up had college not come along. College. A time for exploration. A time for self-reflection. A time for finding oneself. A time for…a reality check. For now, I have set aside my not-so-practical dreams and am now a third-year Economics major on the pre-med track at Vanderbilt University.
So, why this blog? I may be working towards a medical degree, but I definitely haven’t lost my love for baking. Rather, baking keeps me sane. I can’t possibly study biology, organic chemistry, physics, and economics every waking hour. If it was physically possible, my brain would literally explode. So, I bake to relieve stress. I bake to fill my tiny, dingy dorm kitchen with scrumptious aromas of freshly baked goods. I bake to brighten the days of my fellow classmates – stressed, overworked, and burnt out from the burdens of excessive workloads and extracurricular activities dumped on us. I bake for me.
I’ve recently embarked on a new baking journey – the end of which may quite possibly not be reached for years to come – to bake my way through each and every recipe of The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. This blog is my means of chronicling and sharing this journey with my family, friends, and whoever else wishes to come along.