Bake with the Best of Them

I am no baker, but I have gotten fairly good at baking (and cooking in general) as a result of just having done it.  Just because we aren’t decorated pastry chefs (or whatever it is that you or others may wish you were!), it doesn’t mean that we can’t try our hand at a thing or two.  The holidays are made all the warmer by baked-fresh goods that come right out of our own oven.  For the longest time, we lived in apartments (with kids!) but I didn’t let that stop me.  I baked anyway.  I made real meals, too, and served them up with pride.  I used whatever kitchen we had and made the best of it.  So let there be no excuse for yourself (if, in fact, you have an interest in creating bakery items for your family during the holidays to make the time all the more special).  Join the merry throng of those who devote themselves and their kitchens to the act of celebrating the season.

Let nothing deter you in your intent to bake with the best of them.  Baking (and cooking) can be frustrating—it can get messy and confusing and disappointing—and then add a child or two who wants to “help”—well, cute and all, and we’re all the better parents for letting them “assist” us, but it can really be a very not fun time in the kitchen when we’re trying our hardest to let baking (and cooking) add to the holiday cheer, not suck it away from us.  So keep a positive attitude, and learn to let things go quickly (Our kids are learning!  They can’t do things (like crack an egg) as well as we can because they simply haven’t lived as long as we have or done it as much as we have.  The best thing we can do is to be patient with them as we help them learn and practice.)  Accept that as soon as our children want to be in on the “fun,” it’s going to take a much longer time to complete our baking (and cooking) tasks.  It’s just the way it is!  But let them help anyway if they catch you baking (and cooking), and given them things to do that are simple and do-able for their age and ability.  They don’t have to help the whole time (and in fact, a lot of times they’ll just say that they’re done after they’ve done a few things), and they don’t have to be perfect.  As soon as our children are involved, we have to switch gears.  We’ll be glad we did, and they will love having helped.

If baking (and cooking) still isn’t appealing to you even when there are no children around to “help,” then you don’t have to do any of it.  But just consider it.  Once you start and do more and more of it, you get better at it, and it’s not so obligatory.  We develop the confidence and smoothness we need as we do more of a thing.  (How true that is of parenting as well as baking!)  So let nothing stop you unless you truly don’t want to do it.  Remember: How much warmer the holidays are when there is something warm (and good-smelling) coming out of the oven!

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