Happy Baking Days!
It’s September, a month after my birthday and I’m still receiving birthday gifts. Sometimes, life’s just amazing like that! This Tala tin plate set is from my friend Budour (over at The Oven Experiments) and what a fitting gift from the person who led me into the kitchen for the first time.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent a lifetime watching my mother cook. And she’s an amazing cook, too – in an intimidating, confident, motherly way. She tried to encourage me over the years but often added my least favorite tagline to her coaxing: “you have to learn how to cook because you’re getting married one day! Who’s going to cook for your husband?” How I hated that rationale! Fourteen year-old me would never do something just for somebody else’s sake. I’d turn up Destiny’s Child Independent Women and retort, “he can cook for himself.” Sometimes I spiced it up a bit with a teenage taunt like, “what husband? Why are you assuming I’d ever get married?”
There was a time when I got interested in cooking but admitting that would have given my mother immense satisfaction so I feigned nonchalance and didn’t ask to be shown around the kitchen. My efforts to resist all evaporated after Budour’s get together when we were all at university. She invited me and a couple of other girls over to her house to make pasta from scratch. I refuse to repeat the moronic questions I asked about the origin of pasta and its association with trees. But it’s a starch, like potato, so obviously a…?
The ravioli we made at Budour’s that day was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. And seated around the table with a group of laughing Kuwaiti girls, I had a life changing epiphany. I can cook. How many others have had that same realization after years of resisting? It is the sweetest, happiest bubbly sensation that makes one feel both elated and dizzy with the possibilities. Cakes? Desserts? Salads? Pastas? Dinners? Lunches? Snacks? It’s like winning the lottery, except you end up spending money.
Since that day, dear readers, I have baked pies, made frittatas, stuffed chickens (ok ONE chicken), made casseroles, roasted vegetables, hosted meals, threw parties, sustained cuts, burns, scalds, and put on many, many pounds. And with this fifties-inspired set of baking utensils and kitchenware, I feel like I should put on my Eden Project apron and cook up a storm in my (imaginary) tiled kitchen listening to Otis Redding through my transistor radio. Chocolate smudges everywhere, flour dust in the air and a dinner table waiting for me to light those candles.
In that fantasy, I look a bit like Audrey Hepburn.