Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm not who they think I am

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!

14 comments:

Ramona said...

My cupboards are full of store bought cake and muffin mixes.
No shame in that!

Melinda said...

I do the same thing with my kids, Holly. Baking is overrated unless
you're doing it as a hobby, like golf.

Nice seeing you again at Friday's bookclub chat!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Pssst: go to the bakery section of your favorite store, purchase goody, take home and place in your own pan/plate. Win-win.

Adam said...

I like Angie's solution above.
My kinda baking.

ORION said...

I am a witness to this- when I was visiting Holly her HUSBAND baked the cookies...

laughingwolf said...

mom and dad both baked, but i'm like you: package [at least til someone teaches me]

Cindy said...

Mom always did the baking, I never developed a knack for it. If I have to bake a cake it comes out of a box, like you said, or I visit the local grocery store and pick something up. I still look forward to mom's baking, especially at Christmas time.

wordman17 said...

AS a kid I loved my mom's baking and never once considered that she may have made it from a cake mix or bought it. But she did. When I turned 30 she admitted she never once made any of it from scratch.

Who cares, right?
It came from my mom.
Good enough.

Victoria said...

I'm on a first name basis with the woman who runs my local bakery. I don't own one pan or cupcake tin and don't plan to. Invest in the future, I say. Get to know your local baker

*smile*

Nadine said...

Cake mix or not, I don't know how you balance kids and your writing! Don't you wanna tear your hair out some days???

Katie Alender said...

You can be the mom who "breaks and bakes," rather than the kind who just bakes. ;-)

Mel said...

I've given up baking because I bake it then I eat it!
(Came to your blog via Sam Hayes - now I'm off to find your books. Yippee someone new to read!).

Mel in New Zealand

ChrisEldin said...

AHHAHAHAHA!

My boys are now asking to make the cupcakes themselves. So I'm handing over my never-been-used aprons...

;-)

kyla-dale said...

I've got a delish bakery two blocks away and since they moved into the neighborhood I've stopped baking. It takes way too much time away from my social life!