I’m a “dash of this” and a “bit of that” kind of cook.
Nearly forty years of prepping meals for a large family and literally hundreds of guests has provided confidence when making a roast or stew or casserole.
But baking is another matter entirely.
Baking is science (as my high school chemistry teacher pointed out) so the proportions need to be precise and measurements matter.
It’s much the same when it comes to feeding my heart and mind in the “after” of child loss.
Before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven it wasn’t as critical if I paid attention to how much negative information or opinions I consumed. I could brush them off and focus instead on all the blessings I enjoyed.
But after-well the equation changed.
I was already so weighted toward sorrow and despair, adding even a dash of additional negativity could push me right over the edge.
I learned to limit my exposure to generally unhelpful sources (like social media from some folks, clickbait websites, negative Nellies who only rant and rave). I learned to shut down my own tendency to rehearse slights, sad memories and internal dialogue that said I was a failure because one of my children died.
I work hard to find something for which to be thankful each day. I try to get outside and breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sunshine.
And when I have a rainy day-whether it is literally dripping water from the sky or simply dripping tears from my eyes-I try to do something that will help my heart hold on.
Often I turn to baking.
There is hardly a more satisfying moment than when I pull a perfectly formed loaf of bread or cake or muffins from the oven.
I never get tired of the magic that occurs when you mix the right amount of flour, eggs, sugar and leavening to produce a beautiful edible gift of love.
If you want to find me after a stress-filled day or week, join me in the kitchen.
It’s where I do my best work.
It’s where my heart heals as my hands knead dough or I scrape the mixer bowl.
Baking hope is what I do.
In case you want to join me:
*MAMA D’S POUND CAKE*
- 2 cups quality flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks butter (not margarine) OR 1 stick butter and 4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla
- 5 eggs
Cream butter and sugar until fully blended and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla. Finally, add flour a bit at a time and beat until blended. Then continue to beat for 2-3 minutes until batter reaches a shiny smooth consistency.
Pour batter into a prepared (greased and floured OR use quality baking spray) Bundt pan or tube pan.
Bake 10 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 45-60 minutes (pans and ovens vary).
Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack.
Serve with fresh berries, ice cream or toast for a yummy breakfast treat.