Baking is therapy. Husby knows that a long day = pecan pie, a day rough around the edges = chocolate chip cookies, and if it requires a trip to the fancy carpeted grocery for specialty ingredients, just stay away until I’ve had a bite.
Baking is kind of magical. Taking the tasteless – flour, eggs, baking powder or soda. Adding that which doesn’t taste good by itself – salt, oil, vinegar. Dropping in intense flavors that call for other ingredients to tone them down – sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, citrus zested.
The finished product needs all the ingredients, together better than they were when on their own.
Apron around my waist, which is softer than ever. My kitchen swells with scents, messes, laughter, heat, love. The Boy scoots around the floor, playing with plastic cups, his stuffed puppy, the dogs dishes… =) Daddy and I sample the dish, spin to grab a spoon, add a pinch, mix and stir, dust surfaces with flour, use old woven potholders and older recipes from Grandma.
Baking together muddles time. The techniques are the same as hers, my grandma with the softest skin and hands and dinner rolls. Her life continues to intersect with mine here in my kitchen as we bake cookies that my moms moms mom made, probably as her own babies crawled on the floor. I wonder how she knew to add just enough flour and butter to make impossibly crumbly and rich shortbreads.
On their own, butter is just yellow fat and flour white ground harvest. Stirred with my mixer, butter and flour become cookies, cream colored and perfect on my plate.
We too, this family, are better together than when on our own.
I soften. He slows. Together is our favorite way to be; it’s where I am the best version of myself because it’s the real one. Our bad parts burn bright, yes, but together, our goods are better and our better really good. There’s no start to him and end to me – we’re just one us.
Batter in the oven, we dance in the spice-laced kitchen. We gaze at the grinning boy seated in the middle on the floor, puppy at our feet, both looking up at us joyfilled.
That little baby boy is the best parts of us both.
In baking, we create new things – good things – and isn’t that what God does in us all?

This post is inspired by Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter, which I loved and highly recommend. In a small Texan town, Reba discovers Elsie’s German Bakery and falls in love with more than the pastries. She’s drawn to Elsie’s life in Germany during the last year of WWII. Join From Left to Write on August 29 as we discuss The Baker’s Daughter. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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