“Wafting across the dimly lit kitchen drifts the heady scent of vanilla mingling with sugar and toasted coconut. Flour is dusted along the counter and even on my nose as I sit cross-legged, pencil poised above my notebook….” So began my college entrance essay 24 years ago.
That opening line is etched in my memory as vividly as the address of my childhood home, for reasons unclear even to me. I was writing at the time straight from my heart about my greatest passion and my first entrepreneurial venture, a baking business I ran from my parents’ kitchen during high school.
While baking is no longer my business, it remains one of my purest joys. I’m the mom who signs up gleefully to bring treats to the class party or the sports team, the zealot looking for coconut sugar in the baking aisle of the gourmet food store, and the devotee with a cookbook collection to rival Barnes & Noble.
I bake for guests and I bake with my kids and sometimes I bake for absolutely no reason at all other than the joy of mixing flour and sugar and eggs and lifting magic out of the oven 40 minutes later.
When it’s the first crisp fall day, I bake. When the first snow falls and I’m dragging out the hats and mittens, I bake. When it’s a Saturday morning and there is nowhere we have to be, I bake.
When I have too much on my plate and my nerves are frazzled, I put on an apron, pull out the measuring cups and spoons, gather flour and sugar and butter and eggs and I get to work.
When in doubt, I bake. Why? It’s simple, really.
If you aren’t sure, think about this.
Which activities do you turn to when you’ve just had enough and need to recharge? What draws you in when you need a little downtime? Do you read? Play the piano? Putter in your garden? Go for a run? Draw a bath? Do a puzzle?
It’s important to notice what soothes you so that when your feathers are ruffled, you’ll know just what to do to get yourself back to center.
Baking may not be your thing, but know what is, and make room in your life to let it work its magic on you.
PS – If you’re looking for a little inspiration in the kitchen, you may love my Pinterest board called Treats which you can check out here. My Breakfast board has a healthy dose of sweets as well – that one is here.