The Unexpected Joy of Baking

#2 in Reflections of Life's Unexpected Joys


The Unexpected Joy of Baking


December 2004

Baking is not my first love. I tend to turn it into a huge ordeal. I figure that since I am making a mess anyway, why stop at just a batch of cookies? Why not also make some muffins? Maybe a cake, and oh, maybe I could bake and freeze some squares also. Baking probably wouldn’t be so bad if I wouldn’t turn it into a marathon. Now that I have a two year old there is an added dimension to baking. It comes in the form of, “Me help, mommy?” Now baking just turned into a whole new ball game.


During my last baking marathon I had run out of two year old type jobs and so I gave my daughter a small measuring cup with little chocolate chips that she was allowed to eat. With my daughter happily occupied I was able to turn my attention to the baking at hand and move at warp speed compared to the two year old helping style of baking. After a long time I realized that my daughter had been very quiet for quite a while. I began to feel guilty that I hadn’t found more ways for her to be a part of this baking experience. I also felt guilty that I had given her chocolate as an entertainment so that I could work uninterrupted. What was I teaching her? Was she going to grow up to eat chocolate for entertainment just because I prefer baking without extra hands reaching into the batter? As all this guilt overwhelmed me she looked up at me with chocolate all over her face and gave me the most beautiful smile. She has lovely smiles and this was one of her most radiant. With her face beaming she said, “Mommy, I like chocolate!” I no longer felt one shred of guilt. I decided that those few chocolate chips wouldn’t be a detriment to her health and she was not feeling neglected, instead she had totally enjoyed the challenge of picking up and savoring each and every little chocolate chip in her cup. I imagine there will be more baking experiences that end with mommy finishing the hard jobs and my daughter savoring some chocolate chips and if I can see her radiant smile again the messy job will all be worth it.


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