Shortly after my husband and I were married, he bought me an antique bakers hutch. It was very old and one could tell that it had seen better days. The history that old hutch may hold! Maybe a mother taught her daughter how to lattice the perfect pie or favorite breads were prepared for Thanksgiving meals. I'll never know for sure. What I do know is that was a beginning of my interest in baking.
I grew up in a family of great cooks. What that meant for me, however, was that someone else always did the cooking. I remember as a teenager trying to surprise my family with cookies. They were a disaster and mom never let me near the stove again. When we married, I couldn't boil water without burning it! I'm still not a great cook, but I've learned an appreciation for the art of baking. I began watching my grandmother cook and observed an art form that she has perfected over the years. I read cookbooks and became obsessed with cooking shows on t.v. Now after lots of practice, many failed recipes thrown out and some successful endeavors, I an learning my own style of an age old artform.
Baking reminds me of where I came from. I remember my great grandmother making cornbread on her pot bellied stove and my grandmother's peach cobbler after Sunday dinner. I think about what it was like for generations of my relatives who had to bake not just for pleasure, but for survival.
Baking has become a sort of therapy of mine. Kneading bread dough or baking my son's favorite cookies relaxes me. It takes me back to a simpler, less stressful time. I can focus on the task and see a result. It's gratifying to provide something that I made, from scratch, for those I love the most. So many thing in my life are complicated, it's fullfilling to see a positve end result.
That old hutch still sits in my kitchen. It has held numerous birthday cakes, Christmas pies, and summer cobblers. But what it holds most are memories, some mine and some to those unknown people before me. I will keep working on improving my art and keep making more memories. I want my children to learn to cook and appreciate the time it takes to prepare a meal or dessert. Maybe someday, my great grandchildren will have those same great memories of walking into my house and smelling wonderful baked goods.