15 @ 40 // day three
Once upon a time, I shared a lot of baking on the blog, and on my insta. When the children were tiny, it was an easy way to keep them entertained for a bit, and top up the treats in the pantry. As they got older, baking became part of my Monday morning routine – drop the kids to school, do the groceries, come home and bake for the week ahead. Biscuits, muffins, scrolls; #barefootinthekitchenmonday was a keystone of my week, and my insta routine.
In the previous incarnation of my blog, before my 2015 rebrand, I even had a series trying to push me further. My “Twenty Treats” series kicked off in June 2012, and wrapped up in January 2014. It was good accountability to get me out of my baking rut, which I will confess, I have fallen back into somewhat.
There was the baking and decorating of birthday cakes, a marathon of icing and decorating and late nights every spring as birthday season rolled around. There were fairies with ruffled skirts and sleeping dinosaurs and aeroplanes under attack and trains, oh so many trains. They are starting to grow out of that now, and prefer simple cakes, or even rocky road. As much as I cursed the 2am finishes, I find now I miss them. I think last birthday season, I worked out I’ve baked and decorated around 50 birthday cakes since that very first, first birthday, back in 2007.
The first year of the pandemic, like many people, I rekindled my love of bread baking, and even tried to create a sourdough starter. I was in a rhythm of baking three or more loaves a week…and then the mice plague came. Sourdough and its long overnight rises were no longer possible. Even our favourite peasant bread became harder to manage. When baking a loaf of bread means disinfecting every surface, and washing the mixing bowl and the proving bowl and the baking dish, it becomes harder to justify. So too did cake baking. After the mice started eating the plastic casing on the beater attachment, the mix master went to live in the mouse-proof container, like most of our kitchen goods at that point, and it added just that extra step that made it less likely to indulge in impromptu baking.
Those early years have paid off though, and often the children will ask if they can bake something. Sometimes just for funsies and a snack, sometimes for something more elaborate. In our recent school break we had a cake decorating competition, and I think they are still coming down off the sugar high.
While our regular, fill the tummy type baking has dropped off, we continue to prioritise it for special occasions. Christmas gifts for grandparents & great grandparents is a favourite, as evidenced by our growing collection of stamps and cutters. The older we get, the less any of us want “stuff” cluttering up our homes, and so I would rather splurge on the tools to make nice treaties for our loved ones, rather than buy something they don’t really want just because it’s a gift giving occassion.
The children often help, though for both mothers day this year and Christmas last year, I ended up doing it myself due to sickness. I ended up with plenty of spares from the Mothers Day batch, and so while most of them went straight in a container plain, ready for simple morning teas, I felt inspired to make one for myself, for this project. A little treaty to indulge with a cup of tea, as I sat with my Cardori and plotted out this project.
I am very much looking forward to having a house again; a reliable oven, a full size pantry, easy access to my tools and ingredients. I want to bake bread again, and cakes. I want to have children come thundering in, summoned by the smell of cake fresh from the oven, hovering around the island, impatiently waiting for it to be cool enough to turn out. I look forward to containers laid out in a row, ready to be stacked with this weeks goodies.
For now though, a small biscuit with too-thick icing stamped with a cute flower, is treat enough.
Today’s post is part of my “FIFTEEN AT FORTY” project, a fifteen day, fifteen project, celebration of creative exploration, to mark my fortieth year and my blog fifteenth. The journey so far has been amazing. The creation of the pieces I plan to share with you over the next fifteen days has been a revelation. I am brimming with inspiration and motivation for what is still to come.