Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baking As Muse

I woke too early this morning, the result of going to bed too early trying to keep warm last night. Today we celebrate the life of a good man and a wonderful friend with an outdoor tribute and an indoor potluck wake. I baked a chocolate cake in a chilly kitchen, trying to pretend that "room temperature" for the butter and eggs was not 58 degrees. Thankfully the dogs and cat decided to go back to sleep so I had the house to myself and could just enjoy the pleasure of gathering and measuring and mixing, thoroughly enjoying my new stand mixer... a replacement for the forty year old one that finally gave up two weeks ago. I remember my second husband's first wife (I called her my stepwife) telling me that she cooked all night on the night after her mother died. I can understand that. Making something to nourish or just to give pleasure like this dark sexy chocolate cake I just made is so intimate. I am a strange feminist, cranky in my independence and insistant on equal respect, but I most enjoy getting completely involved in domestic tasks... cooking, handspinning, quilting and house tending. My daughter is the same, though she winces at comparisons to me. She is the ultimate urban woman and only endures the country and mountain visits out of love that I appreciate. She has a law degree, a super responsible job in academe but loves to bake and to create welcome and beauty in her home. She will marry this spring and is choosing a traditional wedding even though she and her intended are in their forties and very contemporary in their attitudes toward sharing tasks. It is wonderful we have choices and can create a blended life, from scratch to high tech, from picture albums to Facebook, from knitted sweaters to fleece made from soda bottles. It is all this crazy mixed up life and watching it with a little distance from myself and others is great fun.

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