The kitchen is where I find my peace. Funny because as a child I was required to be in the kitchen when my Mom was in there working. That was my Dad’s rule, she much preferred to have the kitchen to herself. Looking back now I can see that she used the kitchen as a refuge. I felt like I was a forced distraction from that refuge. My mom never had time to talk to me about what she was making or doing, she just gave me tasks until my dad was distracted and then she would send me on my way in which I would happily comply. I really didn’t like cooking, I found it a necessity. It wasn’t until I was out on my own that I started experimenting with recipes, tastes and how I could make my own style with food. Now baking, that was another matter. My Uncle Bob, my Mom’s brother loved to bake. The few times he visited when I was a child either at my house or my Grandpa’s farm he welcomed me into the kitchen. He took the time to show me what he was doing, let me taste things along the process and feel successful when it came out of the oven as if somehow, I baked the beautiful bread or cinnamon rolls all on my own. I treasure those memories and when I find myself baking as I have been this morning since 3am I can feel my Uncle and that passion for putting love into every bite that is going to be shared.
Today to say that I LOVE cooking, baking, well really all things culinary would be a drastic understatement. I have found that like my mother I have used the kitchen as a refuge over the years. At times this has been perfect, it allows me to work out whatever decisions I maybe mulling over or just gives me the freedom to creatively express myself which is very relaxing. I am however working on allowing others to break the barrier of my kitchen to help me and bring their own statement and creative talents to whatever we may be cooking. My grandkids have shown me this in the biggest way. They are looking at some recipes for the very first time or others are favorites of theirs and they just want to help in the process. I am so happy when I am telling them my little secrets that make certain dishes uniquely mine, a little more cinnamon (always), a little less nutmeg!
My baking this morning took me on a journey through some old recipes (my grandma’s fudge, my sister in law’s shortbread), some of my family classics (Mexican wedding cakes, Snicker Cookies) and a new recipe (lemon fluff cookies) as change is always fun. It also took me through a world of emotions, my Mom in the kitchen Christmas Eve baking, myself over the years preparing for big Christmas events and small ones. One thing remains true for me and that is sharing what I have made is one of the cornerstones of how I show love. I still have one more cookie to make but I will need my Grandkids assistance tonight with that! The sugar cookie dough is chilling in the fridge ready to be rolled out, baked, frosted and sprinkled. I can’t wait for the mess, the meltdowns and the munching.
My wish is to just take a moment and enjoy the little things, breath in the joy, receive the help and compliments and be grateful for the opportunity to have the experience.
Peace and Joy! Mira