In the week since my return to Shere, I’ve made 2 batches of cookies; Carrot-Raisin Oatmeal, and Milk Chocolate Chip; a double recipe of Irish Tea Bread, and 4 loaves of sourdough Mill Bread. The cookies went straight to Catherine, Matthew, and Louis, the children of Bernard’s daughter Carolyn and her Yankee husband Mark. One of the Irish Tea Breads was meant for the parents, but a few hours after we left, Carolyn rang and asked if the bread had nuts in it. Alarm bells rang in my head. Matthew is highly allergic to nuts, but theoretically not walnuts, which were in the tea bread.
Looks like he is now, though. Bright and aware 10 year old that he is, he felt the characteristic tingling immediately, so his mom gave him his medicine. No real harm was done, thank God.
This baking frenzy is not characteristic of me, but a reaction to 6 weeks of living out of a suitcase and to the rhythm of other people. Baking grounds me, brings me back to earth, makes me feel in control, and at home. I wish I had known that about myself years ago. But until the age of 60, to me baking was for the house-bound female living a conventional, dependent role, and who had few outlet sfor her drive and creativity. Like, for example, my mother, who was justifiably proud of her delicious pies and cakes, but who always seemed a little disappointed in her life.
I decided not to end up like her, nor did I want to have to live up to her high standards. I don’t know which motivation was stronger. My early attempts at baking were not successful, anyway, but that may have been more about three little boys under my feet than lack of skill. So I didn’t end up like her. Baking is not my only outlet. But it is a very comforting hobby. The only problem is that bread, cakes, pies, and cookies are not on my ideal diet plan.
Fortunately, Catherine, Matthew and Louis have bottomless appetites. At 13, 10, and 8 they are always hungry, always playing sports or running around the garden with their Golden Retriever Toby, and Tasha when she is there. They can afford the odd treat. Besides, there are no additives of any kind and everything I put in my kitchen is organic and fresh. It’s got to be better than store-bought, anyway.
- Back in Shere
- Get a Horse