Each afternoon at 3:30 when my boys get off the bus, I meet them at the door, give them a hug, and then head back into to my office to write. I’m usually wearing a sweatshirt, carrying a chapter I just printed out, but clearly they see someone else -- possibly someone wearing an apron, carrying a tray of still-warm tarts. I know this because not long ago my youngest said, “Mom? Why don't you bake anymore?”
I hesitated. It wasn’t that I couldn’t remember when I’d stopped baking. I couldn't recall ever starting!
I admire people who bake, but it's not my thing. I tried years ago and got the same results over and over again. My cakes either sank into oblivion, came out like extra large hockey pucks or bubbled like volcanos and made my eyes burn when I opened the oven (it took three failed attempts at that recipe before I realized it called for 1 TBSP of vinegar, not 1 CUP). Eventually I admitted defeat and gave away every cake pan, pie plate, and rolling pin I owned, happy to spend my time writing instead.
But back to now... and my boys, who were standing at my desk waiting for an answer. Why don’t you bake anymore?
I didn't have the heart to point out that I never had, so instead I decided to morph into whoever they imagined me to be, and when I promised I’d bake a cake this week their faces lit up like I'd just parted the red sea. Then after they'd disappeared upstairs, I scribbled CAKE MIX on my grocery list -- the easy kind, where you drop in an egg, a cup of water, bake 30 mins and serve (apron optional).
Now I just need to borrow a pan!