The reason why I bake was captured perfectly in an article I was reading recently. It was a rare moment of peace. I was neck deep in tub of warm water surrounded by bubbles leisurely reading an embarrassingly outdated copy of Sunset magazine and my heart skipped a beat when I turned the page to see an article entitled “Sweet Talk” featuring an interview with Rosie Daykin, the owner of Vancouver’s Butter Baked Goods complete with great recipes for lovely layered cakes. Sigh. This WAS going to be a good bath.
My love affair with baking has definitely been slow and steady. Sure, I baked cookies with my mom and helped decorate birthday cakes but it wasn’t until a family friend showed me how to make a beautiful cherry pie from fresh pie cherries off the tree in her backyard that I truly saw the magic of homemade baked goods. I’m always looking for new recipes to try and new techniques to master. But, as excited as I was to see Rosie’s technique for getting the perfect rustic looking frosting on the outside of a delicious cake, it was the opening quote that really resonated with me, “I want to spoil [my friends and family], celebrate them, or make what wasn’t such a great day a little better.” Yes. THAT! That is why I bake.
Of course, I love the compliments from others and the sense of satisfaction that comes from pulling together a totally beautiful dessert but that’s not really why I do it. I do it to show others that I care for them and value them. That they are worth the 30 minutes, hour, three hours it took for me to pull together this delicious confection in their honor. You can’t help but feel loved when someone gives you a fresh baked good or, better yet, invites you into their home to share it with them. Chris and I stayed up late the night before Ian’s second birthday to make a chocolate cake in the shape of Daniel Tiger’s head. It was fun to have a project to work on together and we were both pleased with the result but nothing made it more worth it than the look on Ian’s face when he saw that cake the morning of his party and exclaimed, “Daniel!!! Daniel Tiger!!! Ding, ding!” Or the look on my husband’s face when a week of scheming and watching YouTube videos resulted in a beautiful dark chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache topping piled high with fresh raspberries (his favorite) and a very special birthday dessert (thank you Elise Stratchan!). Chris and I also had so much fun frosting and decorating heart shaped “Lily” cookies in honor of a friend’s new baby. It’s moments like this that remind me, once again, of a piece of wisdom from one of my childhood icons, “There are many ways to say “I love you.’” How do you use hospitality to show others you love them? Share your ideas in the comments below!