Zap2it: What was the first sweet you baked?
Kerry Vincent: Fairy cakes. I was 8 years old and won first prize in the Country Women’s Association at Albany Fair in western Australia, where I lived — in the adult division! I should have been in the children’s, and I was beside myself because I took first ribbon.
Zap2it: Where did you grow up?
Kerry Vincent: I was a daughter of a farmer, and sheep shearing was my business, and farm work, and I learned at an early age I needed to get busy and help. I actually lived on a station in the north; I did my first school on pedal radio. [Inventor] Alfred Traeger … set it up. No person, no matter how isolated they were, could be left behind. My parents, when out there, were on party line, and when I did my schooling, there was a pedal machine where you generate your own electricity and talk to a teacher. And each of us had our turn with listening and offering and sharing the details, and parents marked your homework.
Zap2it: Who taught you to bake?
Kerry Vincent: I am fortunate because I grew up with a wood fire oven, and my mother taught me to shove my hand in the oven and get a feel for how warm it is. I don’t even believe the calibrated oven because it is never calibrated. Shove your hand in, and feel this, and close your eyes, and that’s the temperature you need for a sponge [cake] and the rest of the baking.