Whipping up a dish

Algebra 2 teacher Christopher Hanson shares love for baking


Algebra 2 teacher Christopher Hanson uses a Pi Jell-O mold for one of his creations. Courtesy of Christopher Hanson.

He stirs a spatula in a bowl filled with the ingredients for cheesecake as holiday music plays on the radio. After he is finished mixing the condiments in the bowl, he pours the mixture into a round baking pan and places it in the white oven. He is filled with joy as the Christmas spirit spreads throughout the room and is excited for the party he will attend in a few hours to showcase his newfound ability: baking. 

“I started baking a few years ago,” Algebra 2 teacher Christopher Hanson said. “I was baking for a party and I discovered I really enjoyed it and from then on I found more and more recipes. I started off with cheesecake. Cheesecakes are my all-time favorite [dessert] to make.”

After discovering his love for the hobby, Hanson began baking various types of desserts such as cakes and pies, but primarily focused on cheesecake. Due to his love for the sweet, he creates his own version of cheesecake by adding chocolate and fruit to spice up the dessert.

“Because [cheesecake] was my very first dish, it was my original creation,” Hanson said. “I think it was one of the things I wanted to master. I don’t know why I chose it at the time; I’m pretty sure it’s just something I wanted to make on a whim.”

Hanson’s favorite part about baking is the way it reminds him of math and helps challenge his knowledge on the subject. He uses it to de-stress and enter a world of serenity. 

“I enjoy the hard logic behind it,” Hanson said. “For the most part, baking is a set of instructions just like math, where you use a step-by-step process and you’re not supposed to stray away from it. [To me, baking] means I can find a place of calm because baking doesn’t require me to think of anything. It’s very relaxing [and] methodical. There’s only the ingredient, the steps and the recipe. You just go through the process and eventually, you have this wonderful creation from a simple list of ingredients you get to enjoy.”

Attendance clerk Karen Brown commends Hanson’s efforts on educating students. Just like him, she shares a passion for baking and has seen his love for it grow throughout the years by tasting a few of the recipes he has created for her and his other coworkers.

“[He] is an amazing baker,” Brown said. “We’re both pretty outgoing. I enjoy baking and I like doing that stuff too. We have parties up here, I enjoy doing that kind of stuff.”

Hanson is also passionate about teaching math because he can’t imagine teaching any other subject. Math models teacher Julie Williams admires his sense of dedication to his job due to the way he reaches out to all of his students, especially to those who aren’t even part of his class.

I just want to continue to add more recipes, find more things to do and add to my expertise.

— Algebra 2 teacher Christopher Hanson

“He’s taught me about structure, and as far as lesson planning, that is something I’m not gifted with,” Williams said. “It’s inspiring for me that [he] has [lesson planning] so easily and even though I’ve been teaching longer, it’s refreshing for me to see he has that ability [to] figure things out and the creativeness he has for creating different activities.”

One day, Hanson wants to master the art of baking creme brulee. Since tasting the dessert for the first time, it has been a goal of his to create his own version of the dish.

“I would love to make a creme brulee,”  Hanson said. “They’re custard filled, with [an] almost sugary crust. I’ve had them many times. I’ve never been able to make it because I don’t have the ingredients.” 

Throughout the years, Hanson’s knowledge on baking has expanded. He plans to continue it by discovering new foods and creating recipes of his own. In the future, he hopes to incorporate baking into an upcoming lesson.

“I plan on continuing [baking by] adding to my recipe book every time I get a chance to,” Hanson said. “I have expanded from cheesecake to pies. I just want to continue to add more recipes, find more things to do and add to my expertise.”