There are two things we have plenty of time to do right now: bake and watch YouTube.
While a lot of us are struggling to adjust to our new lives, comedian Tiffany Norton has been preparing for this for the past year.
Last spring, Norton began recording snarky baking tutorials, affectionately referring to herself as “The Bitter Baker.” Whether she’s teaching you to make My Cousin Messaged Me On OkCupid White Trash Bars, or trashing her girlfriend’s cheating husband while preparing I Know Who You Did Last Summer Cupcakes, Norton has created the cooking show that we didn’t realize we needed.
The idea for the show, she says, came about in the most logical and expected way possible: ghosts.
“It just started out as something to do,” Norton says. “I was super depressed and had just moved to this new apartment. It was a Sunday, it was cold and rainy, and I have a lot of my grandmother’s stuff in the apartment. She was a tough old Irish broad that I love very much, and she had this mirror that’s on my wall. So like a scene out of a bad 17th-century novel, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Grandma, what should I do?’ and she was like, ‘You should bake something.’”
Norton is a comedy favorite in town (she was City Pages’ readers’ choice for Best Local Standup Comic back in 2016) and constantly finds unique ways to make audiences laugh. But before now, fans may not have known about her proficiency in the kitchen.
“I was trying to figure out how to turn the idea of a cooking show on its head,” she explains. “My grandma was tough—military wife, depression survivor, daughter of immigrants—and food was her weapon. If she liked you, she wanted to bake for you. But if you were her enemy? Oh did she want to bake for you and make you feel stupid. That was her flex.”
The videos themselves are quick and funny, but also make baking surprisingly easy. The prep, however, is something Norton takes very seriously.
“I always test the recipe first just to make sure I know how it’s going to turn out. When you’re filming a food sequence you always start with the end in mind and show people the finished product so they can see why they’re watching it. So that’s the second version of the recipe,” Norton explained. “And then I make the third one on camera and just cut them all together.”
Though she doesn’t have any firm plans to expand the Bitter Baker empire just yet, a successful test run of a live version last year at T-Rex Cookies in Eagan has given her plenty to think about.
“I think it would be fun to try and do it on a Zoom,” she says. “Post the recipe in advance, get your stuff together, and make something together.”
Until then, a full back catalog of Bitter Baker video recipes is available on Norton’s YouTube channel to help you kill some quarantine time, including her most recent creation: Death By Chocolate Bars.
“It’s how I thought I was going to die,” Norton says in the video’s intro. “Or the alcoholism.”