It’s All Riding on How the Cake Turns Out

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It’s crazy but when I’m exhausted, stressed out and just plain overwhelmed by everything I go into the kitchen.  I take down my treasured recipe books (there are a few of these!) and start thumbing through.  Sometimes there’s already a germ of an idea slowly taking root in my fogged out head.  It’s usually baking, often sweet, that calls me and promises, well what?  I don’t know.  I just take refuge in the process.

I find the recipe that I’m looking for.  There’s not always much in the cupboard these days so it keeps the options down and pushes up the creativity stakes.  Maybe if I can just bake this to perfection than I will regain some peace, some sanity, some control.  I weigh out ingredients, substituting what I have in the cupboard and on the shelves on occasion, other times just changing it for the sake of domestic bliss.  Within minutes there’s flour all over me.  It’s a talent I’ve had since a child and it’s definitely a hard one to shake.

But when you’re exhausted, stressed out and plain overwhelmed, it isn’t always the best time to cook.  It’s especially not the best time to launch into advanced techniques beyond inputting nutrition into self.  I’m cack-handed and anxious.  Awkward with the mixing, having to sit down regularly and hug the mixing bowl to my chest.  Things go wrong when I can’t think straight and can’t hold a train of thought, hang on what am I doing?

And there’s so much at stake.   There is redemption to be found in every knead and stir.  But it has to be perfect otherwise all is lost.  It’s a lot of pressure.  Pressure makes me feel worse.  I keep working on, hoping for a miracle.  I’m aiming for mostly edible, setting my sights low but needing so much more.  There’s so much at stake.  I work on.

I need someone to eat it, savour it and relish it.  I need to win someone over with my creation.  I need it to be declared fit for consumption and praise. (There you go, I admitted it, selfish little attention seeking critter that I am).

The highest of compliments is when my husband deigns to eat it (preferably without demanding an exact ingredient list and carrying out an autopsy beforehand) and requests it to be made again.  It’s just the two of us now.  Sometimes I take ‘offerings’ to family and friends, a small piece of love wrapped in foil.

You can win hearts with food.  I keep baking.  There’s redemption in cooking but I’m still trying to find it.

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15 thoughts on “It’s All Riding on How the Cake Turns Out

  1. I love to cook, simply love it. And I’ve found that there are some recipes (cheesecake; potato soup; anytihng at all combining fresh fruit and a crust) that I have to tank once or twice before they are edible at all. So don’t give up if a meal doesn’t work the first time around!

  2. Had to smile when you said you hoped your husband would eat it before performing an autopsy on it! :) I’m not much of a baker but I do love to do it with my mom. I think the whole ritual brings back memories.
    I love the spirt of this post…how you keep looking for redemption. Thanks for stopping by at my page today.

  3. If you haven’t read it, read “Eat Cake” by Jeanne Ray. You will love it! Cooking/baking feeds the soul as well as the belly.

    Thanks for commenting on “Alone”. There is much more to her story, but she (I) am doing ok.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this. I just started baking when my first son was born. I would definitely say I’m more of a ‘cooker’ than a ‘baker’ but my kids LOVE to bake cookies with me…and I too, enjoy hearing wonderful feedback about the “small piece of love wrapped in foil.”

  5. I’ve found, and read someplace, that ones state of mind when cooking effects the food. Yet It always pains me when I make the extra effort to amass all the ingredients, clear my schedule, and COOK, the kids turn their little noses up at my creation and opt for mac & cheese from a box. True humility in the kitchen is laughing when you drop the perfect, just finished birthday cake top down on the floor.

  6. I haven’t hit that point, but I can definitely sympathize. The post-mortem at dinner is usually something I can take calmly, b/c I need to know if a recipe’s worth making again…but sometimes I want to yell, “Hello! A little gratitude for your ready-to-eat meal, please!”

    Here’s hoping you get less stressed!

I'd love to know what you think, concrit is especially welcomed on fiction pieces. Thank you.

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