I’ve taken a little more than a hiatus from this project. Not that my mind hasn’t been buzzing with ideas!—but these last few weeks have been a bit stressful in my professional life. Coupled with the endless (cold!) rain we saw at the end of May, I’ve been in hibernation mode (aka Kantha quilts and Netflix).
Luckily, the sun has come out, the temperatures have inched back up toward an acceptable late-May, early-June in Maryland range, and our vegetable plants did not drown in the garden. A few days ago, I emerged from my personal cave and ventured out to celebrate the birthday of my best friend, Bee, who is in the trenches of studying for her first medical boards exam. Let’s just say she’s in a deeper, darker hibernation cave than me at the moment—and I am SO proud of her, so I wanted to drag her out for a sunny lunch in the park and bring her a little something special on her birthday.
Without much to-do, I decided to make her some birthday cupcakes—chocolate with Nutella buttercream (go big or go home). When I started gathering ingredients, my husband walked into the kitchen and said, “You used to be so scared of baking! Now look at you. You bake all the time.”
And it’s true. I found my way into the kitchen by way of watching my mother as a child and then the necessity of cooking when I was out on my own. The joy of improvisational cooking was found soon after. After a few baking fails, I always wrote off baking as something I’m just not good at because it’s a science and I’m terrible at proportions and math. And while those last two things are true, I let these limiting beliefs stop me from trying something I now actually enjoy! I may not be ready to start creating my own cupcake or dough recipes (expert-level stuff, in my opinion), but I’m learning to love the process and can make some yummy treats when I want.
My foray into the world of baking started at the hand of a good friend, Sam. She’s the kind of lady you want to party with, you can read and watch cat videos with, and who will give it to you like it is and call you out if need be. It was just a moment like this when I was griping about baking and she stopped me short to say, “No, Karo. You can bake.” Then she walked me through her favorite blondie recipe and bought me Food52’s Baking cookbook for my birthday and now I’m an unstoppable baking fiend, using any opportunity to whisk together my new favorite ingredients, flour, butter, egg.
My husband’s little comment was a reminder that I can learn new things and accomplish previously unimaginable goals.
Now when I’m wrist deep in dough and batter, flour on my forehead, butter on my apron, in my stuck-in-the-90s, odd-choice-for-a-1950s-cape-cod-home, lowlight, Very Beige kitchen, gleefully whisking and kneading, singing the wrong lyrics to songs very loudly, and waiting for the joyful ding! of my kitchen timer—I can be proud knowing I can bake. The oven will not defeat me.