Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lessons from the Kitchen



I love baking. I especially love baking bread. There is something about being up past my wrists in dough that just brings me peace and contentment. The Holidays in particular bring out in me the need to fill my home with the aroma of rising bread. They say that scent is one of the strongest memory triggers. I know this to be true. The simple scent of certain bread products that flood my mind with images and moments from my childhood.



Any time I cook my little one's want to be part of the processes. Maddie especially wants to be part of whatever is going on. If I am baking their desire to participate is even more intense. Either because they want to eat the cookie or play with the bread dough. So often my first instinct is to brush them off. Our kitchen is small and there isn't a lot of extra space for little ones. But something about this time made me pause. And so I took a deep breath, scooted over, and taught them how to brush butter onto the paper-thin dough before I rolled it into crescent shapes.  I explained how to place the rolls on the baking sheet (though that clearly went over their heads).

Some where along the way I looked down and instead of seeing my hands forming the rolls, but my mothers. Instead of the voice of my daughters I heard my own childish voice asking to help and in that moment I was reminded of the connection to the women in my family. My mother, my sisters, my aunts, my grandmothers. The women who came before (if only by a few years) and have made their way into the every day of my life.

There is quote by that I fell in love with years ago. Pearl Mae Bailey

"My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future."

This is why I love to bake. Because, in the mixing of flour, and water, and eggs, I am connected for the women who came before me, and helping to form the little ones who will come up after me. And some day they will look down at their hands and see mine, and my mother's and my Grandmother Hazels and know that they are part of a beautiful heritage of strong, capable women who lived lives marked by love.


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