Baking and cooking for joy

Baking and cooking when I have a luxurious amount of time to just work the way I enjoy working in the kitchen is probably one of the greatest stress relievers and antidepressants I've found. There's something to be said for spending countless hours in the kitchen, measuring ingredients, combining them, cleaning as you go, being precise, tasting, adjusting... ahhh, it just makes me so happy. I love creating something with a person, or group of persons in mind. I focus all of my love and energy on making something especially for them, that I know they will enjoy. I honestly think it makes all the difference. It sounds kind of silly, but I think baking/cooking with love is something you maybe can't taste, but something you can definitely sense in a dish. For example, (bear with me, it's a silly one), my husband likes to just throw some food and hot water in a dish for the cat, mix it together, slap it down, and expect him to eat it (nothing against my husband). The cat rarely eats all of it--only when he gets desperate. When I prepare his food, I make sure to measure the perfect amount, add just the right touch of hot water, mix it thoroughly, and mound it up so it's easy to eat. I take the time to make it just the way he likes it, and 80% of the time he eats it all on the spot. I know that's a ridiculous example, but my cat is unbiased proof! Another example--one time my sister's friend came over to go on a hike with her and her boyfriend at the time. He was their music professor or something--really cool guy. I was making pancakes. He studied me for a moment, and said "I've never seen anything like that--you are making those with love." I was struck with his comment and replied: "Exactly! That is exactly right!" I was amazed that he could take one look at me and understand my entire style in the kitchen. That is one of the best compliments I have ever received.

I've had a long week. And by long I mean super, ridiculously long. One of those weeks that seem like they never end, and are full of mishaps, arguments, and just general lag. Monday was the day from hell (you know those days, where nothing goes right), and I think from Saturday-Wednesday I slept a total of 11 hours. Then, yesterday I started work in the afternoon, nannyed overnight, and got off work at noon today. In that 22 hour time period, I dealt with broken tree branches, countless fights, smashed fingers, flag football, soccer, lost balls, lost dogs, 4am bloody noses, 6am dog vomit, prepping one kid for a baseball game, and the other for soccer, 3 meals, 4 loads of laundry, 4 loads of dishes... all on about 4 hours of sleep. In reality, it was all enjoyable, and hilarious. I laughed my way through all the silly "mishaps" and therefore so did the children.

Needless to say I was exhausted when I got home. I still had to prepare two meals with my husband, meal plan, grocery shop at 4 separate places, go to Target, and bake my Lemon Cake for Zombie Jesus Day tomorrow (which is a long recipe). I wandered around outside snapping some photos to try to regain sanity before facing the holiday crowds. When I got home from my errands, my feet ached, I had a headache, I could barely keep my eyes open and all I wanted to do was curl up and watch Project Runway. Instead, I put on my apron, got out my stand mixer, and started zesting citrus. Three hours later, my muscles are relaxed, my headache is gone, and the joy is back in my heart. I can feel the love of my family and "family" I am so excited to spend time with tomorrow. My house is warm and full of the happy scents of orange and lemon intermingled with baked goods. I am exhausted, but in a good way. I feel accomplished, and satisfied.

If you had a long week like me, grab a tedious recipe, and go spend some hours in the kitchen. Feel the stress, anxiety, and busyness trickle out of your head, roll down your spine, and leave your body while you create something with love:)

1 comment:

  1. ohhh I love this post!!!!! Sadly, I don't take such care when I bake. I don't measure so accurately, I do love cooking however... I think it is one of my favorite ways to connect. My kitchen looks like a disaster area when I'm done and I seldom have the ability to 'clean as I go'... I *love* your cooking and I hope I tell you that enough when we get to share meals. I will say this... I, too, am careful about how I put food out for my cat, how I mix it, etc. I understand and share that part of you...<3