“Cookies, cakes and kids.” That’s how Keisha Seymour describes the photos in her phone.
For Keisha, a batch of fresh-baked muffins or cookies represent a lot more than a yummy treat. It’s a form of therapy, and it’s a therapy she’s hoping to share with others.
“It’s the aromatherapy of it, it’s the happiness. Baking brings so many things together,” said Keisha, mother of five, PhD student and owner of More Please Bakery STL.
Keisha, whose fresh-baked treats are available at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, is a student at UMSL, working toward her doctoral degree in counselor education. She dreams of opening a center that would combine baking and therapy.
Keisha points to research that shows a physical act, such as baking, is beneficial in a therapy setting.
“It’s easier to talk and have a conversation when your hands are busy,” she explained. “Thinking about something baked, you see it, you smell it, you taste it, you feel it, all of the senses are there."
Keisha said having something in the hands can help a patient, such as someone who has gone through a traumatic experience. Another example is a shy child or adult.
“We can work side by side and roll out some dough and cut some cookies and work the recipes together,” she explained.
Before going back to school for her PhD, Keisha spent 16 years as an educator. She did everything from teaching and administrative to school psychology work. It was the realization that kids need more than an education from teachers that pushed her to go back to school.
“Teachers are also their support and sometimes a counselor,” she said.
Keisha imagines this future space that blends baking and therapy together as a place where families could go as well.
“That would help families struggling with communication. They could all work together on a recipe,” she said. “I am trying to find ways for people to make connections.”
While the wellness center is just a dream right now, Keisha is determined to make it a reality. In the meantime, she’s hard at work studying and baking special order cookies, muffins and treats for the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market. You can typically find her there several times a month.
Although Keisha has been baking alongside her dad since she was a kid, it was during the pandemic she decided to turn her hobby into a business.
“During the pandemic a lot of us creatives stretched ourselves a little more,” she laughed.
Keisha said baking runs in her blood and that her grandmothers on both sides of her family, including one she never was able to meet, loved to bake.
“My brothers were always the taste testers,” she remembers. “It’s soothing to be in the kitchen creating something that is going to bring joy to somebody else, even if that somebody is in my household.”
She said now her kids carry on the family baking tradition during the holidays.
"We use sprinkles, glitter and get pretty creative," she said.
At the farmer’s market her most coveted items are the banana chocolate chip muffins and blueberry cinnamon muffins. In addition, she usually has an assortment of cookies and cupcakes.
“People want the decorated sugar cookies - that’s what the people demand.”
Keisha said her special-order requests keep her busy day and night.
“If I have a lot of orders and I am overwhelmed, that is a real feeling, but once I start and I am on a roll it feels good,” she said. “It’s therapeutic for me and that’s why I know I can share that with others.”
Keisha said quitting her full-time teaching job to go back to school has been a whirlwind, but she said this is part of the walk along her journey.
“Once you are walking in your path, things just happen, and connections are made…doors open.”
To order baked goods from Keisha or to see when she will be at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, find her on Instagram @morepleasebakerystl or visit her website morepleasebakerystl.com.