Not as much as I once did. We eat a bit different nowadays, but I miss the old ways of baking. Being able to select one cookbook filled with sticky sweet and creamy velvet, run off your chin recipes to use.
When I was younger, I found a light spark within me as measured the flour, mixed to aerate the cake batter and the sheen grease on the paper towel as it danced across the pan. Sprinkled flour. Shake and tap, tap to loosen it. Envisioning my daughter standing on a stool, my arms wrapped around her to show her how to use a delicate hand to create.
Friends boast and fed that baker soul of mine with verbose, "MMM's" and "OHH's!" It's my symphony.
But, can I tell you a secret? I am not a food stylist. I am not one with a perfect figure (are any of us). No, I can hide those imperfections well. Self-learned baker, placing the cheesecake into a bain marie to create creaminess, instead of density. And no matter how much one can work to perfect the art, the inevitable crack appears on the top of the cheesecake.
That blasted split. Fissure.
My most notable title these days is mama. My wee babe is but five months old and more often than not, I am that fissure. Imagining what mothering would be like before it came to be, well, that's romanticism clod with models eating at an all you can eat dessert buffet and never gaining weight. It's not reality.
What I know is when my children are away, I want to cling them so badly. But, when they are with me, I want to run away. In these days, I feel like those cheesecakes, baking one after another, trying and trying. Following the recipe to a T and still....cracks.
Running through my head are voices, "Your milk is not enough for your babe," "Veronica is broken and she will never succeed with her delays," or "Cadence will grow into a resentful person, because you don't show enough love to her."
Crack. Fissure. Broken.
My job was to make cheesecakes for a friend's wedding. I made two. One was perfect, while the other had split on the top, right in the middle. It was time to get ready and making a cheesecake takes time. Time I did not have, but hiding imperfections I knew.
Reaching up for the pan, I proceeded to put it over a low simmering heat, while pouring cold whipping cream into the pan. I quickly chopped chocolate and dumped it into a medium bowl. As I whisked the cream gently, it warmed. Pouring the cream over the chocolate and let it sit. I whisked and whisked as the cream & chocolate married and became glorious ganache. Then, I poured it over the cheesecake.
Jesus tells me he is the good Shepherd. God tells me he is a good Father. I am currently laying in split. I feel as though I will lay here forever; but worse, that my children will fall in as well. But...
I see Jesus wrapping his arms around me, as he gently teaches me how to chop, stir, measure, bake & cook. I imagine him saying,
"well done, my sweet, beautiful daughter!" I imagine him, saying, "You see that crack on top of the cheesecake? It's imperfect yes? Like you, but I'm here to fill that crack to make you holy whole. That's my grace, that's my blood pouring in. And those beautiful girls of yours, (he pauses and whispers) I'm covering them too."
Today I am linking up for the first time with Emily Wierenga's Imperfect Prose.