Had a great moment at a funeral a while back. Yes I just said that. I’ve gotten to a place where I can dial back the emotion, that place being Swedish genetics, and enjoy the life being remembered. A common theme in every fully lived life, i’m finding, is a shared love by the remaining family members of something made by hand. Something baked. Something presumedly gone now.
I bake. Yeah, I just said that too and i’m not ashamed any more. I love baking. Came by it naturally by being raised by a mother and grandmothers that always had the oven on. Baked goods i’m finding are one of the more appreciated gifts and a hands-on way to show the love above all else. Ok, not all else. The appreciation comes from it being near impossible to find time to do it anymore and a cake at Whole Foods is like $400.Besides, a nice perishable pie leaves out the hastle of a friend digging around in their shit closet to put out the fugly vase you bought them last time they hosted a dinner.
For years I played my pans pretty close to my chest because baking was such an old lady thing to do. It’s more hip to be bad in the kitchen and burning all things domestic. Save for spinsterly girls that wear vintage horn-rimmed glasses, late Aunt cardigans and collect tea cups with owls on them. But as you look to ways to be thoughtful you start to understand old lady wisdom. The wisdom that says feed them and they will come.
Where this all came from is, at this funeral, I spoke to a young woman who had just lost her Oma. She was a little daunted by the task of learning how to make Weichselstrudel or Apfelstrudel or Mohnstrudel. How could you not be? You want to have a little lay down after trying to spell them. As we chatted we were surrounded by pictures that could have been any Mom or Grandma kneading dough, cutting crust, rolling bread.
Just because there’s a cupcake shop on every freaking corner now doesn’t mean you have to drop the dough ball. Get some flour under your nails. Throw gluten into the wind. Make some truly ugly cakes until you get the hang and haul your familys’ legacy into the next generation.