Simplicity in Baking

It’s been a rough two hours. Apparently, I broke the baby’s heart when I decided to shred the chicken for the soup instead of picking him up. At least, that’s what his plaintive wails sounded like to my ears. The shrieking was compounded by the fact that he a) has learned how to pull himself up and b) decided to crawl to my legs, pull himself up, and alternate the screaming with “kissing” the back of my knee. Only a callused heart could not feel for his baby emotional anguish. The complete melt down lasted until bedtime two hours later.

So while cooking and then eating and then cleaning up to that background, I realized that I was going to need to do something to make my brain feel better. We had a great day today–swinging and walking and napping and playing with blocks and reading–but all of those excellent hours were in severe jeopardy of being replaced with the reverberations of the yelling. Whenever I have this feeling of unwanted memory replacement, I find that I want to bake.

I love baking because it is simple. There is no inventing or wondering what should be done next. You follow the recipe. You do what the piece of paper says to do whether you are baking bread, creating cookies or making English muffins. It is basically the opposite of raising a baby. Where the one feels like constant improv, the other is a set art. If I do what the wise recipe creater said (and I picked a good recipe to start with), it will work. And today I needed to do something that I knew would turn out right.


This afternoon I bartered for the second time. A neighbor two streets over has six laying hens that produce daily during the summer. (She also has two rescue bantam hens and three ducks with “angel wing” that can’t fly.) We met through NextDoor, a social network for neighborhoods. We exchange a dozen eggs for a loaf of homemade bread. The eggs are delicious with rich, yellow yolks and a meatier flavor than the ones I get at Kroger. We are planning on getting chickens next spring, but for now barter is working well.