There are days when no matter how devoted we may be to an idea, we just aren’t up to it.
Today, that’s one of them. I just didn’t feel like going through my recipes and actually baking something. I pulled some extra sweet rolls from last weekend’s baking out and called it good.
Does that make me a bad baker or a bad wife or something?
I sincerely hope not. I’m not the only one that has bad days. While I’m sitting here, feeling incredibly guilty, it reminds me of another occasion when guilt actually motivated me.
I was going to see my grandparents. My grandmother had had a devastating stroke and wasn’t expected to live long. She was currently in a nursing home, and my kids were young. Taking my 4 year old son to the nursing home was an exercise in frustration. He was hyperactive and taking a medication that made it incredibly severe. He wasn’t a bad kid, but being still and quiet around sick people wasn’t exactly on his list of things to do. I knew that a visit to the nursing home was going to go steadily downhill with him if it lasted over an hour. I also knew that it was impossible to leave him with anyone else for the same reasons. I dreaded the ordeal.
But I also loved my grandparents dearly, as did he. So there was this big conflict over what worked for us in managing his surroundings versus what we all wanted to do. I would make the trips two or three times a month, staying two or three days each time at my grandparents’ house with short visits to the nursing home, all of which was a lot of driving. My grandparents lived five hours away, and the nursing home was an hour from their house, in a city that I wasn’t very familiar with.
Because of the guilt, the night before we were to leave to visit, I baked my Granddad’s favorite cake. It would become a tradition, and if I arrived without the cake…it was nearly a catastrophe! It was pound cake, and he didn’t care if it was a chocolate one or a vanilla one or a lemon one.
Pound cake was one of the few cakes that actually worked to make at high altitude too. Usually, even with the high altitude corrections to a recipe, they just don’t come out “right.” Dry, crumbly, coarse grained…I’d seen it all after living a decade at over 5000 feet. Pound cake, that was the thing I turned to, time and time again, because it simply worked. It might not have been picture perfect, but it was so much better than anything else, it was the go-to recipe for me. It certainly didn’t hurt that Granddad loved pound cake to begin with.
I never frosted them. I despise frosting, and my Granddad, like most elderly people, didn’t need the extra cholesterol and sugar that frosting would deliver either. Besides, with good cake, nothing more than a cup of tea or coffee is all that needs to go alongside. Fresh fruit crowning it is also perfect. It just goes with about anything when you leave the frosting off!
For Granddad, it was something to look forward to as we worried about my grandmother. I continued to bring the cakes even after we brought my grandmother home, and while she didn’t recover completely, she proved the doctors were incredibly and undeniably wrong when they had said that IF she lived…she would die from bed sores, and she was no more than a vegetable. She was the family matriarch, and while she no longer had the energy to rein with the iron hand she had before, we all continued to pay homage to her. Ultimately, Grandmother outlived Granddad.
Granddad wasn’t stingy with his pound cake though. I think he was prouder of his homemade cake than I was, sharing with friends and relatives that dropped by the house. When it got down to the last slice though, most of us feared touching it.
That last slice could be hazardous if there wasn’t another one on the way soon.
So, when you are feeling guilty, sometimes, the answer is cake. Or bread.
Bake something, put a healthy pinch of love in it, and give it to the person. Even if they never will possibly find out about that thought that provoked the guilt, it sooths your guilt and puts a smile on their faces. Often, the ability to make them smile makes up for that thought about how you really didn’t have time for this favor or task or duty.
Besides, it just makes me feel good when I can make someone smile. Maybe I’ll have a karmic bank balance to make up for a future guilty thought/action, right?
November is a good month to do something showing how thankful you are too. Be thankful that you have the ability to bake/make that item, as well as give it to someone. Be thankful you have someone to give it to, as well. They’ll have the opportunity to be thankful for having a friend who bakes!