Tag: fear of baking

May 26 / Breakfast Food

easy cranberry scone recipeSome rather grandiose dreams spring to life from the enjoyment of a single morsel. At least, that’s how it works in this odd little brain of mine. One really good bite and an aspiring career is launched, imaginary restaurants are born, and desired franchises are launched.

Maybe you experience magical thinking, too?

It starts with a recipe and technique.  You’ve worked on perfecting a particular food item for a long while and then, after much effort, art and science come together and make magic on the plate.

You regard what you created. You feel satisfied and proud. (And maybe a little bit hungry.)  You take a bite. Your senses sparkle with excitement. Your mouth enlivens with activity. Neurons fire with glee.

Then, maybe a few moments later, someone across from you–a loved one or a cherished friend who joins you in this special meal–remarks “wow, this is really good.” Your beloved might continue and say something that stokes the fires of imagination even more with something inflammatory like the words “this is restaurant quality,” or “I’d pay good money for this.”

And then that’s it. Your pride rallies. Your over-active imagination kicks into high gear.

You picture the scenarios: you’ll start your own business, open a little bakery or a restaurant, begin a little catering company, quit your job, and do this thing you love so much for a living. You’ll cook, inspire, and change lives with a perfect scone, a great sandwich, a mouth watering steak, the perfect poached egg or an extraordinary dessert.

May 17 / Breakfast Food
May 5 / Writing
mother's day photo
Me and My Mother

Before there was fear, there was love.

Baking wasn’t always something that frightened me. When I was a child, baking was something I longed for. The art of bread and baked sweets was something rare and special. It was sacred.

One of my first memories of baking was when I was quite young. Maybe I was in a high chair. Or I was just old enough to be trusted to stand on a chair by myself. In this memory, I watch my mother knead dough on a floured counter top. She has her back to me and her long, wavy brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail that reaches down her back. All is quiet as I watch her move through clouds of dusty flour. She’s creating something beautiful from almost nothing.

Betty Crocker Mother's Day
Little girls like me loved watching her mother bake

My mother baked when she was happy. Baking days were especially bright days when we had enough money to buy all the ingredients and take the day to make food together. We’d play Godspell as loud as the stereo would let us, and we’d bake something from a cookbook. I’d stand at her side and observe my mother like a museum patron observes a piece of art. I’d marvel at her chin, her ocean blue eyes, and her big strong hands as she slipped rounds of dough into a rough ceramic bowl the color of raisins.

When I was tall enough to reach the counter I watched almost jealously, as she mothered the bread. I stole glances of my bready siblings as they crept up and nudged their head-shaped mounds against the canopy of damp cloth that draped above them. When it was time, she’d let me touch the dough so I could feel the life in them. Then she’d pick them up, shape them again, and slip them into the stove to be baked into hearty loaves.

April 29 / Breakfast Food
getting over the fear of baking coffee cake
This is one of a series of essays dealing with my totally unrational fear of baking

Ever since Easter and Passover weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about the world ascension. The word has been looping dramatic arcs through my psyche ever since I took one of those deep, restorative, midday naps last weekend. For over an hour I took in the sleep of the dead. It was the kind of rest that soothes, calms, and heals the wounds of hard work.

When I awoke from my unconscious state, I found my refreshed mind chewing on a single word: Ascension. “Ascension,” my internal voice said to me. “Look it up.”

Though I was happy to go about my day and avoid the quiet nudge, the word wasn’t giving up on me. My mind looped: ascension, ascension, ascension. What was it about this word that needed so much attention? Ascension, ascension, ascension. The sound of the word grew louder and louder until I couldn’t resist its call any longer.

Finally, I surrendered. I gave over to a word.

Well, I mostly surrendered. Rather than commit to a full-fledged literary investigation that included the involvement of a certain large and weighted Webster’s Dictionary that lives on my bookshelf, I instead turned to my computer’s succinct internal dictionary. According to Encarta’s World English dictionary, ascension is not a word that’s included in the basic software. So, as an alternative, I turned to ascend for clues.

I was reminded that ascend means to climb up something, to succeed, and also means to rise up to a higher level.  A mountain, a career, a situation, the physical life, or anything else that offers a good challenge can be ascended. A man named Jesus is said to have ascended from death on Easter day. Perhaps this is why the word came to me with such a force. It was just Easter weekend, after all.

But ascension isn’t a word that’s limited to mountain climbers and people of faith. Ascension can be used by all sorts of English speaking people who may or may not believe in the existence of God.  So what does ascension have to do with me right now?

April 6 / Breakfast Food
Cranberry and orange scone

Lots of people have odd, irrational fears. I’ve seen good, strong people transform into a buzzing bundle of nerves once something like a cockroach, rat, spider, bee, or other insect came close to their person. I’ve witnessed friends go ghost white around certain kinds of people–like clowns, midgets, IRS representatives, nuns, and cops.

For me, it’s not the little bugs or people in costumes that make me nervous. What really sets my teeth on edge are electric mixers and ice cream makers. Whenever I see a recipe for a cake, cookie, bread, ice cream, or pastry I am held frozen in a moment of panic—because deep down I fear that the process of making the dessert will overload my brain and kill me.

Yes, that’s right. I have an irrational fear of baking*.

cranberry orange scone