Baked goods hold a mysterious power that can't quite be explained. Perhaps some of their beauty is in their mystery. Whatever that power is, I believe in the power of baked goods. Not the power to make round what was once flat when too many cookies are consumed. Nor the power to provide turmoil to an otherwise normal and calm stomach if eaten in excess. I mean the power that comes from creating something delicious and homemade from just a few kitchen staples.
An old saying declares, "The fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach." I must say that I agree with the statement. Although, I prefer Rachael Ray's version, "The fastest way to anybody's anything is through their stomach." I believe, like Rachael Ray, that baked goods can open all sorts of doors. Baking something is a small gesture that demonstrates a big heart. To smell the banana and molasses (grandma's not-so-secret, secret ingredient) combining to make perfectly tempting whiffs of banana bread is a simple pleasure.
Baking for me is a therapy of sorts. When I find myself stressed or overwhelmed with life, I turn to my trusty recipes. Most often I turn to a family recipe; my favorites include banana bread and oatmeal raisin cookies. Being in the kitchen makes me feel like everything is not falling apart. When I stand in the kitchen and manipulate ingredients (mixing, stirring, and molding) I am able to see my labors start to finish. When I put a batch of oatmeal cookies in the oven, I know that 14 minutes later, they will emerge crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside - the perfect cookie if you ask me!
Being in the kitchen helps me feel connected to relatives that have passed on. I feel like somehow my great-grandma can see me making her recipes and smiles thinking of the legacy she left. For Christmas, all that my grandpa asked for was a batch of great-grandma's oatmeal raisin cookies (his mother). As he opened his present Christmas morning, I could see the sheer joy on his face. As we sat around after all the presents had been opened, my grandpa started to share stories of his childhood. He reminisced about coming home from school smelling the fresh baked cookies. He remembered, with a smile, shoving as many cookies as he could into his pockets as he left to go do his chores on the farm. I enjoyed hearing him remember the happy memories associated with the cookies from his childhood.
Baked goods hold the power to elicit memories of times passed, the power to open doors, and for me, the power to calm my mind in my hectic day. Now, if you'll excuse me the timer on my cookies just went off.