Recipe from This Blonde Life
I’m not a particularly accomplished baker. My bread is usually dry in the center and my cakes tend to fall. I’m not patient enough when softening butter or confident enough to mix my muffins only until “just blended”. The thought of making pie crust raises my blood pressure.
In times of personal stress, therefore, I stay out of the kitchen. I write, I quilt, I stitch, I do not mess with yeast.
But in times when the world feels dark and scary, I bake.
You see, my mother is an accomplished home baker. We had cinnamon rolls on Christmas mornings and challah at Easter and I don’t think I tasted store bought bread until I was a teenager. Fridays were baking day, and I would walk in the door after school to the fragrance of homemade bread and chocolate chip cookies.
Baking, to me, represents the safety of a loving mother. It was part of all that made my childhood feel warm and secure.
I’ve often been accused of being a bleeding heart, but today, as my newsfeed continued to fill with wrenching scenes of torn-apart families, I felt like my heart was beyond bleeding. Broken. I’d called my representatives. I’d donated. I’d raised my voice. And now, I needed to fill the house with the smell of butter and almond extract.
It seemed most appropriate to make this quesadilla Salvadoreña or this tres leches cake, but I knew the friend with which I was planning to share the cake is lactose intolerant, so I went instead with something that seemed simple and fresh and good.
Today is the day when Midsummer is observed across Europe. The day with the most light. We need light. We need simple and fresh and good. We need childhoods filled with safety and warmth and security and the smell of fresh bread and warm cake.
All children deserve that. And all good parents would go through hell to give that to their children.
This isn’t a political blog, but some things transcend politics. It may seem silly or pointless to indulge ourselves, in dark days, with things like crafts or clothes or cake. It’s not. We don’t need quilts to keep warm when any plain blanket will do. We don’t need chocolate chip cookies to live when any plain meal will do. We don’t need beauty to survive.
But we need beauty to live. Even now. Especially now. The things we tend to dismiss as extraneous, this is what brings light into the world. The warmth of a mother’s kitchen, filled with the smell of fresh bread.
Take care of yourselves. Do whatever your version is of baking a cake. And then let’s all go out and fill the world with light.