Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: BAKING

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 


Courtesy of Lynn Kelley Author, WANA Commons

Description: The making of food that requires the preparation of dough, batter, etc., and cooking in an oven using dry heat. Baked products include bread, cake, pastries, doughnuts, doughs, cookies and scones, pies, tortes, fritters, crackers, and pretzels. Meat can also be baked, though the method is different.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: good hand-eye coordination, knowledge of basic mathematics, good physical health (must be able to knead dough, lift sacks of ingredients, work long hours where one is mostly standing, etc.), strong time management and time consciousness

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: organized, detail-oriented, creative, cooperative, passionate, patient

Required Resources and Training: Required resources include heat (in the form of an oven, open fire, smoldering ashes, or other source), water, various grains, and money to buy ingredients. Baking is a skill that many people develop through practice as a hobby or special area of interest. Those who pursue baking as a career don’t need any higher education, though many may choose to take culinary classes. Most must complete an apprenticeship of some kind. 

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: The stereotypical baker is often associated with medieval times, sweating his life away in a boiling hot kitchen surrounded by brick ovens. It should be remembered that various inventions, procedures, and new materials have modernized baking so the process looks very different now. Commercial baking, in particular, is a very different animal. Also, while chefs are largely represented by men, bakers tend to be mostly portrayed by women.

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful: Knowing how to bake basic bread can be a life-saving skill in a post-apocalyptic world In a society where people crave sweets or decadent desserts, the baker will be a popular fixture

Resources for Further Information:
The Elevated Kitchen
The Baker's Guide


Wild About Words said...

Talents and skills. Brilliant. You always figure out exactly what we need to improve our craft. I can't wait to share your new thesauruses with my creative writing students!
Thought this wonderful resource from author, April Henry, would be useful. Character's jobs: http://www.aprilhenrymysteries.com/does-your-character-need-a-job.html

Becca Puglisi said...

Wow, that is a totally cool list. Thanks for sharing!

Rosi said...

Wonderful resource to make our characters more complex and complete. Thanks for posting this.

S.P. Bowers said...

Love this, but I love baking too.

Southpaw said...

Good stuff. A hobbyist may find baking relaxing. Kneading can be therapeutic and meditative.

Brian J said...

Great post. The last bit about a post apocalyptic world really rung true with me. I was just wandering in one yesterday and wondering how to make things a bit more interesting, without adding killer radioactive monsters. Thanks for that!

Susanne Drazic said...

This is a great post. I enjoy baking goodies to share with others.


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