There is something about the act of baking that I simply cannot put my finger on. It may be the lulling motion of the mixer, the calming smells, or simply the gratifying outcome. It is a labor of love, one that I believe I could not live without.
Like many others, my love of baking came at a young age, inspired by the constant stream of treats at my grandmothers house. We were never without some type of sweet when we were around her, though in my young ignorant age, I didn't understand the importance of those desserts. Now, nearing my 20's, I think I finally fully understand the weight of those sweets. It was, and luckily still is, her way of providing for her family. She was giving us her guarantee that we would never go without.
For my grandmother, they were a promise, a promise that she would not let her family face the hardships that she had seen. Food insecurity has never been a pretty picture, but fortunately, she turned her troubling times into something beautiful. Now, coming into adulthood, I have been able to share my love of baking with the friends and family around me and in turn give them my own guarantee. Even while in college, splurging money on copious amounts of butter, I am given a sense of comfort that I am capable of doing this for them.
To say a simple thank you to her would not even come close to expressing the depth of my gratitude. She has given me a gift that influenced not only her children and her grandchildren, but will also affect my children. It has become a tradition that I plan to pass on for many generations, given the chance. I hope that this method of cooking will be one that lasts the ages in my family. Baking has become a enthralling past time and a way to de-stress after long days. Hopefully my children will understand the weight of what they are performing when they pull out a stand mixer or simple whisk. It is an act of love, and an attempt to give someone a gift you have put your own labor into.
Looking back on the stories I have heard, ones that were recounted while someone was pouring over a recipe, one stands out above the rest. The first recipe that my grandmother learned in home economics class was an icing recipe, simple enough but still tricky to master. For those of you who are familiar, it was cooked icing, one who's texture relies heavily on the temperature and humidity of a given day. It was this recipe, learned in a plain old classroom, that would affect my family for generations to come. According to my mother, my grandmother used to say that because she knew how to make a cake and she had the ingredients her family would never go hungry, that she knew she could provide for them. Now, decades later, it is funny to think that one simple icing recipe started a reaction that would span generations and lead to a loving act that carries far beyond a simple dessert.