There is nothing I like more than sinking my teeth into a warm chocolate chip cookie. Unless I’m smacking my lips after scarfing down the yummy goodness of a homemade coconut macaroon. Or savoring the tangy tartness of a piece of rhubarb pie. Well, if I’m really honest with myself, doesn’t matter what it is- I love to eat baked goods and I love to make them.
Over the past few years one of the ways I’ve found that I decompress after an intense experience is to bake. I don’t know if it’s because my job often doesn’t yield tangible results- it can be hard to measure leadership development in peoples lives or life change. The moments where I do get to see people experience some new spiritual truth is great, but often this happens in small yet significant ways over a long period of time. Baking is my go-to when I’m feeling stressed, tired or like I just need some space to process an intense conference or meeting. Whatever it is about feeling the cool greasiness of homemade pie crust rolled out on my counter does something for my soul that nothing else seems to match.
It just might be the instant gratification of baking that pleases me so much- there is something magical in the seconds that elapse where cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar congeal into a vibrant yellow, delicious goo that becomes lemon meringue pie filling. I made a this pie for my grandmother for her 89th birthday- one of three pies I gave to her as a gift and by far the most difficult.
I also feel like I’m living out my heritage when I bake. My grandmother Leep was an incredible baker- a farm wife who bore 8 kids and made their favorite pies every time they came home to visit her as adults. When I got married, my mom, who had helped clean out her home after she died, gave me the pie plate she baked with.
My grandfather made this for her and etched the image of the daffodil into it for her to enjoy as she baked. The plate catches any drips oozing out of a fruit pie. Whenever I use it, I feel connected with my grandparents and even feel like I’m channeling her mad skills as a pie-baker.
I’ve been happy for the cool weather lately because we don’t have air conditioning and I’d rather not sweat it out like Richard Simmons on an 80 degree day over a hot oven just to get a sweet fix.
Pictured above are my baking accomplishments from today; a rhubarb pie for my dad’s 62nd birthday and some banana bread with chocolate chips and candied ginger- inspired from the book “Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenburg. My book club just read this book and we made recipes from the book for our last gathering. Here is the link for banana bread with chocolate chips & candied ginger recipe if you’re interested. Super yum!
What are ways that you decompress when you need some space to process? Organizing your sock drawer? Painting? Shooting squirrels with your bb-gun?