PORT HOOD: An amateur cook with plenty of experience, has become a hit for the millions of people self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Janet MacDonald has seven children, and two of them are living in Alberta. When coming up with ideas to beat the self-isolation, one of those living away, her daughter Margie, came up with a great idea to fill the time; have her mother show people how to make her well-known and well-loved cinnamon rolls via FaceTime Live.
“The kids they grew up on that cinnamon roll recipe, and now the next generation, we have 11, almost 12 grandchildren, and most of them love the cinnamon rolls as well, it’s always been a treat that I make when everybody’s home,” MacDonald recalled.
A well-seasoned cook, but with little technical experience, MacDonald decided to conduct her session in the style of a tutorial which attracted more than 600 views on the first day.
“I’ll go FaceTime Live, didn’t do that before and not very good at technology, but I said, ‘okay, I’ll try this,’” MacDonald remarked. “It was only supposed to be a one-shot deal.”
Noting that cinnamon rolls are a sweet, comfort food that are familiar to many people, and because many are at home and willing to take culinary chances, MacDonald reported that this first tutorial has blown-up into an sensation via the Facebook page “Tunes and Wooden Spoons.”
“There’s been so much success with it that it’s just been wonderful,” MacDonald noted. “Families are baking together, men are baking, and I’ve just been flooded with messages and “friend” requests, which prompted the actual Facebook page that had to be created.”
MacDonald noted that media coverage – via Nova Scotia newspapers, CBC Radio, and CTV – helped give the original post even more attention.
“It just spun from there, and it’s become this thing that really was only started as a lark,” MacDonald said.
The Port Hood resident, and mother of former Canadian Idol finalist Mitch MacDonald, said she’s since been receiving many positive stories.
“I’ve been getting amazing personal message from people who’ve found it extremely comforting and kind of a little escape and distraction from this time,” said Mary Janet. “As well as the tragedy that has befallen Nova Scotia. People are searching for some calm in the storm.”
She said she is happy to provide people with good tunes, comfort, company, and good cooking tips.
“So many are enjoying the idea of a ‘visit’ with me, and have a cup of tea, and just have a little chat, and just talk about things in our lives or in my life, and listen to local music that I love,” Mary Janet stated.
MacDonald said her daughters has uploaded all her videos to YouTube, her grandson has set up an Instagram page, one of her sons has established a Twitter page, and another grandson is starting up a Web site. Meanwhile, Mary Janet is designing an apron and is kicking around the idea of a cookbook.
In addition to marveling at the quick popularity of her videos, MacDonald is “absolutely astounded” at the global reach of her estimated 30,000 Facebook “followers.” As a result of this fame, Mary Janet now has a number of interviews scheduled and new obligations to meet which she describes as both shocking and humbling.
“There’s New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the Philippines, Switzerland, Scotland, England, I’m actually getting real message from these people and they’re showing me what they made,” she pointed out. “It’s just garnered so much attention and it’s just surprises me so much, but I guess this is the right time.”
For more information, check out “Tunes and Wooden Spoons” on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TunesAndWoodenSpoons/.