It’s high pie baking season.
My very first memories of my mother are kneeling by her in the kitchen on a bar stool.
It seems she was always there, baking up something: custard, chocolate cakes, fresh bread, sweet rolls.
Mom did not exclude me from the process.
Instead, I was invited in to learn kitchen safety basics, and truly tradition:
“don’t stick your hand in the bowl while the beater is going.”
“spoon in dry ingredients then level off.”
“set out your eggs and butter the night before.”
Hundreds of after church Sunday afternoons, her hands over mine as we’d stir ingredients in a big Pyrex bowl.
Everything I do when I bake is owed to her. There has never been a baking question she cannot answer for me.
In my early twenties, I’d send her text message images from old apartment ovens with the question: “is this done?”
When something of mine wouldn’t turn out she’d help me trouble shoot, and often guess without even knowing what the culprit might be, “was your flour rancid?”
A woman of many talents, the stability to my mercurial, one of her greatest gifts has been a baking confidence that carries me through each and every holiday season.