I didn’t begin to start baking until about two years ago. In fact I hated most domestic activities in general; cooking, cleaning, baking, laundry, etc. My interest began a little when I moved into my own apartment out of necessity, and then kicked into full gear after I was out of work for awhile and couldn’t take one more episode of The Pioneer Woman without trying to cook for myself.
Now I realize what a lovely thing it is to slide ingredients into a glass mixing bowl from your mother’s pantry, get your fingers sticky from batter and watch as they meld together to make something for everyone in the oven.
I’m not trying to sound over-dramatic. I understand an oatmeal cookie is just an oatmeal cookie, but baking now represents a block of time to myself where things are very straight forward if I want them to be, or very loose if I’d like to try something new. I don’t have a kitchen to myself right now so I am using my parents, but I imagine when I do get an oven of my own it will feel something like getting kissed for the first time.
My mother has always baked and cooked and I never truly understood why it gave her so much joy (and, haha, my mom’s name is Joy…so that’s funny). My motto for the longest time was “Why make it if you can buy it?”
Now I see. It’s the simple decisions (to add chocolate chips, or to not add chocolate chips?), it’s the solitary domain (don’t bother mom in the kitchen!), it’s the product that comes out of the oven afterwards and the sharing of that time with others. It can be quite magical. And when you’ve spent your day helping others to grow or a company to succeed, it’s a beautiful moment when you can spoon honey onto some flour and some oats into a bowl and crack a few eggs, just for yourself.
Sometimes I feel as if I missed my calling, not being a baker or chef. But then I think, nah. If I became a professional chef it would’ve become about making money and taken all the fun out of it. Sometimes it’s best to just keep things small, sacred, attached only to pleasure. And baking is one of those small things that can conjure creativity and delight, even after a miserable day.