Alina Susani

Something new: Catherine Cheng

She stands over the countertop, kneading the dough for another batch.

First assembling, then measuring, she finishes by carefully sprinkling in a new type of flour.

Peering through her thick-rimmed glasses, she crosses the orange-infused bread off her list.

And day by day, she wakes up to drop her kids off at school. Then she drives to the clinic she works at. She has nearly perfected this routine for years. 

She talks with her patients in primary care, prescribes medicine and finishes the shift by reviewing test results. 

Catherine Cheng works each day with a purpose: to improve. 

She believes that to do so, tweaks and adjustments are needed.

And when talking with her patients she always throws in new questions before observing their responses. Many are dropped. But a lucky few etch themselves into her permanent list of questions.

“Always try something new,” she says.

Putting her orange-infused bread into the fridge, she takes out another batch, this time infused with vanilla lager. Its warm smell has grown to be one of comfort as it dances in the kitchen air. 

The previous batch of vanilla lager bread had been too dry. 

And the first time it was burnt altogether. 

But this batch has none of those problems.

She knows that this bread was turning out better than her previous attempts. More importantly, she knows there is always room for improvement, a statement she carries. 

She jots down a few notes, ingredients, measurements, and what she would do differently.

She had only picked up baking last Halloween, but it has found a core place in her routine.

“Life is short,” she would insist. She understands the need to add a new ingredient to life. 

To refine a routine, in work and leisure.

To reach for better results than before. 

To grow.

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