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.