Those of you who follow me online have probably figured out that I love to cook. What you probably don’t know is that this was not a forgone conclusion. My mom was a single mother and often worked two jobs to support me. She didn’t have the time or the inclination to cook regularly, so it wasn’t something I learned at her knee.
My grandmother, however, loved to bake. Famous for her boysenberry pie, homemade candy (divinity to die for!), and endless jars of jam, it seemed she was always cooking up something.
When I first got my own place I called her all the time for cooking and baking tips and advice. She spent hours with me on the phone talking me through things and even sent me her recipes, copied in her own hand. Now that she has passed on I treasure them even more.
Maybe it was the feeling of comfort and home and security I felt while in my grandmother’s house — smelling pie crust browning, sugar dissolving on the stove, fruit turning into jam — that turned me into someone who loves to cook. Maybe it’s in the genes (Rebekah loves it, too). Whatever the reason, I love cooking great meals for people I love.
But as much as I enjoy cooking an awesome meal, there’s something singularly soothing about baking. I don’t know if it’s the warmth of the kitchen as the oven heats up or the smell of all that sugary goodness or the almost subconscious concentration required to measure and spoon, but baking is like therapy for me.
In our house, we make everything from scratch. This way I know what’s going into the finished product and we can spend time together while we bake. And let’s be honest, homemade just tastes BETTER. The best part is, anyone can do it anytime. As long as you have pantry staples (mine are flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate chips, vegetable oil, butter, eggs, and vanilla), you can make almost anything. Craving ooey-gooey brownies? Warm-from-the-oven cookies? A gorgeous, old-fashioned layer cake?
You can probably make them right now!
All reasons why homemade treats are this week’s Little Thing. Like this AH-mazing Red Velvet Cake (minus the red, since we don’t do dye) with cream cheese frosting and toasted walnuts that I made today for my four favorite Valentines. I whipped it up in no time flat while drinking coffee and catching up on email this morning.
Hope you have a week full of wonderful Little Things! And feel free to share your favorites here or on Twitter using #littlethings.