“Mrs. Wade and Tunnels”


Mrs. Wade led my Camp Fire Girls group for most of the six years I was a Camp Fire Girl. She loved to bake and she loved to teach us how to bake. I attribute my love for and skill at baking to those weekly afternoons in her spacious kitchen.

One of her first lessons involved tunnels in muffins. Just as the above image states clearly, tunnels=bad muffin. Our work was to make muffins until we got the hang of how to neither undermix nor overmix the batter. The main temptation was to overmix and Mrs. Wade showed us the tunnels that created. The best moment for me in her kitchen was the muffin I made that she cut open for all to inspect. NO TUNNELS!

It takes real skill to teach children how to do something right without any blame or shame. Children aren’t helped by blanket praise for everything they do. Nor are they helped by having every error pointed out to them. Instead, they learn best, as I did from Mrs. Wade, by learning from their mistakes. She didn’t stop with criticizing tunnels; she explained how to prevent them from occurring. Then, from repeated tries, I learned just how much to mix the batter. It has allowed me to take my baking errors in stride and figure out what went wrong so I can correct it. Sometimes, as recently, looking at my brick like bread dough, it is as simple as leaving out the yeast. At least, there wouldn’t have been any tunnels!

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