For a long time I thought that I wasn't a particularly good cook. I muddled along in college and medical school, fixing rice and canned chili or grilled cheese and canned soup, but it wasn't something I really cared about or spent much time on. My husband, fortunately for me, is a fantastic cook. He is adventurous and creative and enjoys cooking so much that it has become a form of stress relief for him. So over the time we've been together I've essentially ceded the kitchen to him. We plan meals together most of the time but he does all the actual work.
Recently though, I've become interested in baking. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it has something to do with my daughter and being her mother. I have many, many memories of my mother baking. She still bakes at Christmas and we come home laden with cookies and treats that last us into January. I always loved hanging out with her in the kitchen, chatting and helping with the occasional stirring while she made cookies or cakes or brownies or some other wonderful treat. Somewhere deep inside, baking just feels like something a mother should be doing with her daughter.
So my daughter and I bake together. It is often one of our evening projects on the days my husband has a night out. We make scones, usually. I am crazy about scones and I found a really good recipe a few months back that lends itself to multiple variations. At least once a month I bring treats to work for our morning case conference meeting and so there is a ready and eager outlet for our baked goods. This evening we made sweet potato muffins so that I could bring a seasonal treat tomorrow. My daughter donned her apron and chef's cap and we went to town.
Sweet potato muffins are one of those favorite family recipes that my mother has been baking since I was a small girl myself. My mother makes them every Thanksgiving and they are generally devoured without leftovers. This evening I was so amazed watching my daughter help me measure the flour. She patiently scooped the flour into the measuring cup and then leveled it off, all on her own, before dumping it into the bowl. I asked her about that and she proudly told me "Daddy taught me that!" She cracked and beat eggs and mashed sweet potatoes and stirred and scooped batter into muffin tins. When we got to the actual baking she told me firmly "That's a mommy job" and stood well back from the oven. When the muffins were done and cooled we each tried one (quality control, you know - I can't bring bad muffins to work!) and decided we had done a good job.
Baking with my daughter is a lot more fun than baking by myself. I find that I am much more relaxed about the mess and much more engaged in the actual activity. As we bake we talk about ingredients, why muffins are quick breads, and who her friends are at school. I am thankful for the time we spend together, doing something we both enjoy. She told me this evening as we worked "I'm going to do this for my whole life!" and my thought was, me too.
See other posts in my Thanksgiving Week series here:
Thanksgiving Week - Gratitude 1
Teachers - Gratitude 2
Cranberry Relish and Interdependence - Gratitude 4