Lessons from a wooden spoon
I’ve been feeling guilty for a number of weeks now and over the past week, my kids have been making me feel even more guilty.
You see, I haven’t baked anything for weeks.
Yes, I have cooked meals, and made lunches, and organised breakfast. But I haven’t baked. You know, like cakes, or biscuits or muffins, or slices. That kind of baking.
For someone like me (who is known among my friends as an “amazing cook” and a “great baker” — even a “Brownie Queen”), that’s quite an admission. In fact, one of our friends we had dinner with on the weekend was shocked at my lack of activity in the kitchen.
Even my kids have been asking me why I haven’t baked anything.
Over the past week, they have been coming home from school and asking with hopeful little eyes, “Did you bake anything today?”
And the answer has been “No”.
Firstly, I was totally over it by Christmas. That time of year always means extra time in the kitchen, particularly as we have many family birthdays at the end of the year. By the time I had baked for birthdays, break-ups and Christmas itself, I’d had enough.
Then we went away for a week on holidays.
The week we got back we had a record heatwave with five days of temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. I don’t turn an oven on when it’s over 35.
Then we went camping. Followed by some more hot weather.
However, it is now week 3 of the school year and I can tell my children are desperate for something home-baked.
I could no longer ignore the guilt, so I switched on the oven and got to work.
Within no time, I had made a carrot cake, blueberry pancakes and one of their favourite chocolate slices.
And during that time a kind of peace and contentment settled upon me. Out of the kitchen window I saw a young mum and her toddler playing in the park, and I thought about how good it is to do things for your kids — with no timelines or agendas, other than the fact that they would like you to.
What started out as an act to relieve my guilt turned out to be something more therapeutic. I was reminded again, how much I love to bake.
I also learned a few lessons:
- It’s good to take your time with things — sometimes, taking time with things is what you need to do, in order for them to turn out properly.
- Sometimes, hazarding a guess is not conducive to the outcome you desire. Sometimes you need accuracy, precision and a set, proven formula.
- There is a natural order to things — including the part where you wait for the end result, with a cup of coffee in hand.
- There is joy and contentment to be found by focusing on one task at a time, rather than multi-tasking in your head and thinking about the next thing that needs to be done.
- Sometimes you need to do something simply because it will bring pleasure to others. More often than not, you will get pleasure out of it too.
This afternoon my kids came home from school. They didn’t ask if I’d baked them anything. Perhaps they had given up on the whole idea.
However, when they walked into the kitchen and saw the containers on the kitchen bench their faces lit up.
Cries of “Ooooh, what’s this?” and “You’ve been cooking!” echoed around the family room.
So this afternoon, after they had washed their hands and unpacked their bags, they joyously sat down to some home-made goodness.
And there were three of us with smiles on our faces.
Nerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.
She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.
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