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How to bake sweetness with ‘local ingredients’

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 18, 2019 12:07 am
Jenny Kath Thong poses with an array of cakes at her home at lower Bayavü Colony of Kohima.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, April 17 (EMN): A new confectionary named the ‘Sweet Station Baking and Cooking Centre,’ a small home-based bakery in Kohima, hopes to boost local and indigenously produced food. The main ingredient Sweet Station assures to be using in its baked products is ‘local ingredients.’
Jenny Kath Thong is the baker, proprietor and the mastermind behind Sweet Station. It all started out as a ‘small and simple hobby.’ She was speaking during the inauguration of the bakery, located on April 17 at lower Bayavü colony in Kohima.

Every time she baked cake, Thong said, she had to depend on non-local stores for ingredients as it was not readily available at stores run by Nagas, she said. As a local baker and entrepreneur, she felt the need to promote indigenous products instead of buying from corporate stores.

Initially, Thong began to incorporate pumpkins and millets in her baking. The first few steps of experimenting with local products weren’t quite successful. Yet, the knowledge she gained out of experimenting helped her in the long run, even to an extent of writing a book called ‘Sweet Station’ and now to the launch of its namesake at her home.

Apart from regular cakes, she bakes cakes that have a good amount of local ingredients. Thong’s special array includes job’s-tears, banana, local carrots and honey, plum, pumpkin etc. Giving insights into the ‘local ingredients,’ she said to use whipped local rice as flour and clarified butter. She bakes cakes in the bulk too, particularly during wedding seasons.

Thong, who is a mother of three children, said that the easiest way to teach people is through practical courses. The primary aim of Sweet Station is let others know that ‘we can use local products,’ she explained. She is all up to teach others with whatever she has learned from her ten years’ experience.

Meneno Mesen, a theologian, spoke about the ‘importance of preserving and using our local indigenous products.’ One cannot ignore that ‘we are created by creative creator.’ The indigenous vision will take us a long way in the world, she said. Instead of depending on imported or supplied items, one can use make use of whatever is available at hand.

‘We can make things through the few things available,’ Mesen observed. She felt that somehow food makes the Nagas come together. Speaking of local ingredients, she pointed out that ‘we stand in advantage of because its uniqueness to the region, such as millets.’

The positive aspect of being an entrepreneur is that one can be a source for many people. In fact, it provides livelihood to people and even enables them to harness creativity, she said.

A special guest of the day was Kenny Tsela, pastor of Rengma Baptist Church at Kohima. He said the dedicatory prayer and congratulated Thong for her venture. Not only does she bake as a business but also contributes to the church and community, he said.

Many people cannot not appropriate or discover their talents or make use of them, the pastor said.
Tsela hoped that the baker would be an example to youngsters and pave way for the upcoming generation to bring out the best in their selves.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 18, 2019 12:07:47 am