Monday, March 2, 2009

The Rainy Day Bakery

Before kids' lives were scheduled with classes and playgroups and sports activities, we had Mom (the geniune stay-at-home variety) and each other. Before we knew about blood sugar and cholesterol, we baked. We loved to bake! What a mighty mess we made, and what a good sport Mom was, getting stuck with all the cleaning.

I remember only one baking "incident." At the tail end of a long, complicated recipe, I begged Mom to let me add the eggs. Just as I was considering my egg-cracking strategy, Mom turned on the old KitchenAid mixer. It startled me and I tossed the whole egg into the mixing bowl and watched the beater come around and crrrrunch it into the batter. Mom's also very forgiving.

With that one exception, they're all happy memories. Quiet times with Mom selecting a recipe, gathering ingredients, measuring and mixing. Without even realizing it, we were practicing reading and math. It kept us busy, and generally cooperating, for a couple of hours. Oh, there were the inevitable arguments -- I get to lick the bowl! You got to lick the bowl last time! -- but what a payoff: cakes, cookies, pies, rolls.

I think about this at the grocery, when I pass those tubes of slice -n- bake cookies. That's not baking. And are they designed to help mothers avoid spending time with their kids? What a gyp.

I remember baking as mostly a rainy-day activity. The rule back then was, if it wasn't actually snowing or raining, children belonged outside, sucking fresh air and absorbing sunshine, every possible minute. Or maybe that was just Mom's rule, a sort of self-preservation strategy. After all, she was outnumbered four to one.


Anonymous said...

How do you have the most perfect pictures for every story? What a great entry this is. We always loved to bake growing up too - homemade chocolate chip cookies nearly every day of summer vacation when my Mom used to babysit the neighborhood kids. It's something I treasure the most from childhood and couldn't imagine using the tubes of cookie dough now. Nothing compares to homemade :)

Kathy from NJ said...

We four children grew up in a maybe 1,200 sq. ft. house in a great neighborhood - the house was bought new in 1950. (Originally the house had 4 rooms - I remember my sister & I in twin beds and my brother in his crib in a 12 x 12 room - and my parents slept in what would become the dining room with no closet.) Sometime in the mid '50's when Mom was pregnant again my father & some friends raised the roof and put 2 bedrooms & a full bath on the second floor. All 6 of us ate in the 9 x 12 kitchen - my parents didn't stop sleeping in the dining room until my sister & I moved out.

Like your family, we spent most of our time outside - there were lots of kids in the neighborhood and an empty half-lot for baseball, badminton, croquet, races, whatever. After 59 years the house is for sale (4 offers, contract signed), and I am really sad.

La Cootina said...

aww... break the link into two lines so we can see it! (Use the Preview button to check.)

Kathy from NJ said...

I just sent you an email with the link - after email was sent I saw the preview button. I'm not real computer savy.