With the onset of cooler days and the impending holidays, I am reminded of my love for baking. Although I enjoy cooking, baking is my passion. I always default to baking. Any day, any time, I would rather pull out my measuring cups and flour sifter than my frying pan. Even as a child, I found great joy and accomplishment in baking. Heck, I even opened a pop-up restaurant for my parents, aptly called Yum-Yum’s, in which I served my creations.
To me, baking symbolizes love. It’s a way of saying “I love you” or “I’m thinking about you” without the words. The goods are portable and (usually) last longer than a dinner meal, which makes the process feel more worthwhile. But it’s the process, as much as the results of baking, that comforts me too.
When I bake, I bake with purpose. I feel a great sense of conviction declaring my responsibility for the birthday cake, the Christmas cookies, or the Easter bread. In my kitchen, there is celebratory baking, therapeutic baking, depressed baking, overwhelmed baking, and boredom baking. Between new babies, weddings, birthdays, and funerals, there is always baking.
Of course I feel satisfied giving those I love baked goods. Who doesn’t love receiving a basket of muffins, a plate of cookies, or a homemade pie. But let’s be real, I get something from the process too. It’s cathartic to create something with my hands……. It feels leisurely, even when life rushes on around me. Baking has shown me that failing, which happens often, does not make me a failure. If the cookies fall flat or the bread tastes like cardboard, although I may feel frustrated, I never feel wholly defeated. Amidst all of my baking disasters, I have never questioned my capacity or willingness to bake. It is an activity that I always come back to, realizing after a hiatus that I truly missed it.
I come back to baking, during hard times, stressful times, and life changes. As I sit here typing this homage to baking, I realize I would benefit from taking the lessons I have learned from baking, this seemingly recreational activity, into other parts of my life. When the results are sub-par, work to make the next ‘batch’ better.
Note to self. Note to self. Note to self.
Happy weekend. And happy baking.