Baking with Mom

“Baking is a science, Jessie! It’s chemistry.” I heard my mother reprimanding my every time I pull out my mixer. “What are you doing? You can’t use your finger to flatten the flour. You must use a straight edge. Be precise.” And she wonders why I detest all domestic activities in the kitchen? God forbid I learned to enjoy myself during baking projects. Or didn’t space the cookie dough PRECISELY 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. God knows what would happen if my muffins aren’t uniformly scooped into the cups and bake at slightly differentiated speeds. And to be honest, it took me 30+ years to realize that butter + sugar is delicious – slightly browned or under-baked. It doesn’t matter. It will still make you fat. And taste like happiness…

I no longer prepare food with my mother – I’ve realized enjoying HER perfect food is much more satisfying than striving – but never achieving – that kind of culinary perfection myself. And also – everything she makes just tastes better. Even toast and butter. For years I chalked this up to the phenomenon that whatever energy one puts into a food, the less delicious it tastes. But then I watched my mother make me a PB+J sandwich – for 10 min. Because the peanut butter had to be perfectly smooth. And even. And cover every millimeter of bread right up to the crust. The jelly, too, obviously. And don’t even get me started on the ration of PB to J. And of course, eating this sandwich is more enjoyable than those which I make, using the same knife that’s been sitting out on the cutting board overnight. Because, watermelon can’t be that unsanitary, right? And might add a lovely, surprising flavor to my sammy. And getting that spread all the way to the edges? Forget it! I barely have the time to even glob it on the bread before I have to duck out of the way of the macaroni and cheese my daughter just flung at me because I cut her apples the wrong way. So yeah – my mom’s PB+J tastes a lot better.

Published by imworriedmytherapisthatesme

I'm a history-PhD-turned-stay-at-home-mom of three. When I'm not microwaving Trader Joe's meals for my kids, breaking up fights and wiping butts, I like to paint and write. To cope with the endless hours I'm spending with my son doing virtual school, I've abandoned my gouache paints for the more portable, less messy tried but true, paper and ink. While he learns to read to 20 floating heads on his screen, I sit on a tiny chair, at a tiny table pretending to be a productive adult.

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