When she is finally able to take a break from work, English teacher Kristyn Reneau decides whether to listen to a podcast or audiobook. After the choice is made, she collects her ingredients and begins the long journey of calculating the perfect recipe.
Reneau has been teaching at SHS for six years. She knew that she had a passion for teaching starting at a very young age.
“I started tutoring in fifth grade. I would go to the younger elementary kids and tutor. Then in high school, we had an assignment my sophomore year where we had to design a lesson and go teach it to the middle school. I really liked it,” Reneau said.
Although teaching takes a lot of commitment, Reneau still makes time to work on her secret talent. When she isn’t in front of a class, Reneau spends her free time baking sweet treats.
“I’ve made macarons, custards, and pies, but my favorite is cakes,” Reneau said. “There is a lot of creative outlet when it comes to decorating them.”
Baking is a hobby that requires patience, but once you learn what works and what doesn’t, it’s a breeze.
“Baking is actually pretty relaxing for me. When you first start it is pretty stressful because you’re like ‘is this going to turn out right?’ but the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature,” Reneau said.
Reneau began baking as a kid, but has only gotten serious about it in recent years. Although recipes are typically passed down through generations, Reneau is the first person in her family to pick up baking.
“I learned by lots of reading. It’s very English teacher of me. I also watch a lot of videos to learn different techniques. No one else in my family bakes so it is sort of a new thing,” Reneau said.
Because of this, Reneau is in charge of all of the baking for her family get-togethers.
“I am usually responsible for all the desserts on holidays. For Thanksgiving I ended up making five different desserts. I made a pecan pie, a pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, cranberry upside-down cake, and a hummingbird cake,” Reneau said.
One reason Reneau got into this hobby is because she appreciated its order and organization.
“I have always liked that there is an order to baking, but there is also this outlet of creativity. There are these very structured steps you have to do and a lot of science behind it to make sure your baked goods rise correctly,” Reneau said.
Now, due to current events, Reneau has had more free time to listen to her podcasts and bake for her family.
“Before isolation, I made some items for family members and dropped them off on their porches,” Reneau said. “I’ve made doughnuts, M&M chocolate chip cookies, scones, cinnamon rolls and brownies.”
During this time of confusion, baking is great to give back to the people you love most.
“It’s really nice to be able to give my stuff to people. It’s a way I express gratefulness or love for people,” Reneau said.