Kitchen Time: A Stress Reliever

My earliest baking memories are of licking the cake batter and cookie dough off the beaters of my mom’s Sunbeam Mixmaster. I also remember being allowed to help measure ingredients for the various cakes, cookies, and bars. Pouring the ingredients into the mixing bowl was a step towards independent baking, as was being allowed to drop tablespoons of Mom’s neighborhood-famous chocolate chip cookie dough onto the baking sheets.

As I entered middle school, I remember requesting cookbooks for Christmas presents. I still own Amazing Jell-O©Desserts and Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book. Baking independently produced a few mistakes, such as the tiFirst Cookbooksme I used double the amount of brown sugar than the recipe actually called for when I made peanut squares.   I also remember asking my mom to buy “bu-lug-na” so I could cook a new breakfast for the family. Luckily, my older, wiser sister was there to correctly pronounce “bologna” for me.  All in all though, my childhood cooking experiments went well and my passion for being a baker grew.

When I became engaged, my mom asked what gift I wanted for my bridal shower.  I immediately said, “A Mixmaster.” Once married, I became a full-time student and worked two or three jobs, so my schedule didn’t afford me much opportunity to hone my cooking or baking skills. I do remember one infamous newlywed-cooking mistake though. Suffice it to say, be aware to always use cornstarch not corn syrup, when making certain types of blueberry pie.  Even a sharpest knife won’t cut through a blueberry-candy pie!

Later when Todd and I first were looking to purchase a home, he eventually told the realtor to find me a big kitchen with a porch; the rest of the house didn’t really matter. And that’s basically true.

Even as our family grew and I needed to wear more hats, I always found time to be in my kitchen.  About five years ago, I realized my kitchen time is a stress reliever for me.  I’m not sure why, but I usually find solace when I’m cooking or baking.  I’m glad I’ve passed on my passion for cooking and baking to my daughters, but there are bittersweet moments now when they take over and make dinner, our favorite muffins, or find a new recipe to try.  It pleases me that they don’t dread or fear the kitchen and are independent, but I sure miss licking those batter-covered beaters.

P.S. In her blog “Produce with Amy” last week, Amy Laitinen shared a recipe that immediately reminded me of my husband’s fondness for eating chili with peanut butter toast. It also reminded me of my passion for baking (and cooking). Thank you Amy for reminding me of my chef hat and for prompting me to write.

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