I am about to be vulnerable with you all….
I have a fear…
… I don’t often talk about it…
It’s slightly embarrassing…
I have a fear…
Whenever I ask that question “can I bring anything?”, when we are attending an event or invited somewhere for dinner…. in the back of my mind…. I am praying… “please don’t say… dessert. PLEASE……. don’t….. say…. dessert” “Tell me to bring ANYTHING. A casserole. A salad. Multiple side dishes. The MAIN COURSE but please NOT the dessert!” And most of the time if dessert is their request I then make a trip to get a store bought something, which usually is consumed with delight and no one is the wiser in regards to my anxiety.
I know. Weird. Many people find the whole process of baking therapeutic… but I don’t. It wasn’t always this way. I wasn’t born with this fear… no it was something that developed over time. And actually it is more of a recent thing. Something that was a product of a LONG and temperamental relationship with a faulty oven. When we moved into this home almost 8 years ago… I met something that I would spend a majority of each day with… our oven. I got to know it. I learned it’s ways, it’s needs, its moods. Well it has been getting more and more testy with each passing year. (Age does that, right?) But it was sneaky and deceitful in it’s failing. It still worked. But was it working right? I didn’t always know. It started to make me believe… it was all me. I fancy myself as a pretty darn good cook. (If I do say so myself) But when it came to the actual baking department… I had batch after batch of fails! I kept trying and trying again. But flat, fallen, undercooked, overcooked, one-side-done, one-side- runny….. this was always my outcome. When it came to other things…. chicken, pork, pizza, casseroles… my oven always took double time. I will be honest, I have thrown a couple “kitchen fits”…. you know where you bang a dish towel on the counter and scream a big…. “AHHHHHHHHH”….. followed by a mad scan through the current recipe….. mumbling…. “ I KNOW I did what I was supposed to do!!!!”….. followed by a throwing of the towel in hand and a LOUD…..“ FORGET IT!!!!!” Tell me I am not the only one who has thrown a “kitchen –fit” or two…. or several….
(My husband is, I know, going to read this and envision said moment with a smile… knowing exactly what one of these “fits” looks like. My parents can probably envision it as well…. looks a lot like the fits I used to throw as a teenager when trying to manage my out of control hair…. so a “kitchen fit” looks a lot like a “hair fit”, Mom and Dad.)
I have friends that I watch with envy when they bring a tray of a freshly baked something to a gathering. I watch The Pioneer Woman, or Barefoot Contessa and drool for their different baked delights… and then a little evil voice tells me…. “you can’t do that.” ( Ok… so it’s not so sinister… but having an “evil voice” helps my case.) Alas over the last year I have become more aware and confident that indeed my partner in cooking (the stove/ oven) has been letting me down. And I have realized… maybe, just maybe… it’s not me….. “MAYBE IT’S YOU MR Whirlpool WHITE 20 YEAR OLD RANGE AND OVEN!!!!!!YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!!!!!!”
So after some discussion, some research (by the hubby) and a trip to Home Depot… a replacement was ordered.
And yesterday… it came… the NEW one … my new partner in the kitchen. And thus our relationship begins… I already like him better. He is way cleaner. (How’s that for some good ol’ English grammar for ya!?” )
At first I almost didn’t want to cook on or in it… When will I ever have a BRAND new perfectly white and clean stove again? But that thought was quick to pass as I had 5 other people in close proximity who were hungry. So first thing we made? Baked chicken…. 25 minutes to juicy on the inside yet crispy on the outside poultry perfection. WAIT 25 minutes!!!??! Not an hour?!!?! And what is that color?!?! Could it be….. “golden brown.” WOW!!!! Haven’t seen that in a long time.
After dinner and the evening routine… which included Micah and Leah going to bed first….
I thought… “I THINK I CAN”…. and got the urge to bake. Not all crazy baking…. baby steps, baby steps…. just cake mix cookies. So as Josh washed dishes (cause he’s just awesome) I made a quick batch of Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies…
We chatted about work, life, school, kids… it was pretty nice. (We don’t often just get time to chat it up) We mentioned how nice it was that both “babies” went to bed so easily…
Then ding! The timer went off! Look… crackly, chewy… awesome…. in 8 minutes!
We continued to stand and chat…. while tasting cookies and pouring cold glasses of milk. Our older girls came in for a good night snack. It was confirmed… they were good…. the cookies that is…. the girls too… oh you know what I mean. The girls went off to bed. Wow! A new oven was just making life so easy… in more than just cooking! MAGIC!
And then… the faint sound of a harmonica… being played….
Hmmmm…. is our neighbor picking up a new hobby? We followed the sound…. which led us straight to…
…a naked 2 year old, playing the harmonica, sitting in his bean bag… with his daddy’s tie loosely tied around his body. He had been in his room for 2 hours folks!!!!!!! This brings me to a whole new fear… this kid in a “big boy bed” phase… it has to happen. Hello????He doesn’t stay in his crib…. but the thought of it makes me shiver with fear. Micah uncontained!?! It’s very scary. Say a prayer.
So baby steps. I haven’t fully conquered my fear of baking… but hopefully I am on the road to recovery.
So here’s to cakes and cookies… and actually OFFERING to bring dessert!
And here’s to harmonicas and big boy beds… every day a new mountain to climb.
Today baking… tomorrow… or maybe next week… big… boy… bed…
… or maybe next month.
I know, I know…
give me time.