Attempting to bake away my sadness.

6 Sep

I had a hard weekend.  It started out with a party on Friday night for  the neighbor’s 5-year old that was full of pregnant bellies and babies, not to mention uncomfortable interactions with “friends” that have chosen to back out of my life while I go through what I am.  I try my hardest to be strong at these things, but I always end up having to step aside to let some tears fall before I can join back into the crowd.  I’m not sure I ever joined back in on Friday night, though.  The emotions lingered throughout the next day, even spilling into the remaining days of my three-day weekend.


When I went home after my D&C in June, I spent time with my best friend who was going through a major life transition of her own, and we talked a lot about passions and life lists.  It helped energize us amidst our struggles and focus us at a time when we were seemingly grasping for air.  I’ve spent a good majority of my life trying to find a passion to call my own, often times feeling like I may always be left searching.  But in the last few years, my love of cooking – and now baking – have flourished.  I didn’t hesitate when I answered that as my passion, it’s the one thing I absolutely love doing.  When I returned home from that trip, I checked out every baking cookbook (shouldn’t it be called a bakebook?) I could out of the library and decided I wanted to hone my craft of making pastries and desserts and so I started creating.

banana cream pie

Through the pain of the last loss, all of my emotions have been put into baking.  I’ve made tarts, breads, cakes, pies, caramels, custards and finally last night, my first galette.  Up until last weekend when I made Tim the banana cream pie for his birthday, I had never made my own pie crust.  I had heard horror stories of how hard it was and that it just wasn’t worth all the trouble when you could so easily just buy one at the store.  But that wasn’t good enough for me.  I’m a bit of perfectionist with a whole lot of competitiveness mixed in (I’m even competitive with myself), so I knew I had to learn how to make my own crust.  And although it wasn’t aesthetically the best looking pie crust ever made, I am proud to say I rocked it.  I then knew I needed more of a challenge so I decided I wanted to attempt a galette, which is essentially a free-form pie sans pan.  After the allotted wait time of 2-hours once it came out of the oven, I bit into a flaky, buttery, heavenly pie crust and had to stop myself from running a victory lap around the house I was so damn proud of myself.

baked peach galette

It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’m having, if I step into that kitchen and lose myself for a few hours (or days) in a recipe book and some flour, I come out feeling a bit more ready to face the world.  I guess you could say the kitchen is my “happy place.”  Yesterday not only did I make a peach galette, I made cinnamon brown sugar ice cream to go on top of it.  And since you shouldn’t really eat pie for dinner, I cooked black beans from my parent’s garden all day in order to make a spicy spread for chicken tacos topped with a chipotle-lime sauce.  I can’t just saute some chicken and put it on a tortilla…no, I have to make my own taco seasoning and spicy sauce and black beans.  Because just throwing some chicken on a plate just wouldn’t be satisfying enough for me – give me a challenge in the kitchen and I’ll gladly tackle it.

pie and ice cream

Cooking and baking is one of the few things I absolutely love doing and can even say I’m pretty good at.  From very early on I was in the kitchen learning from my mom, holding the hand mixer and blasting powdered sugar or egg whites all over the kitchen table as I learned to keep it in the batter.  I’ve come a long way and I’m anxious to get even better.  I’ve needed something like this for a long time, something to put all of my energy into when things aren’t going the way I’d prefer them to be going.  Or something that I can put my love into for someone I love, giving them my version of art as appreciation for them being in my life.  Something to take my mind off of all those things I’m tired of thinking of.

raspberry tart

Of course, it never escapes me that I’d give anything for a little boy to be at my feet while I attempt to bake and watch him at the same time, or to catch the expression of my daughter as she bites into a cupcake made specifically for her.  Those desires I can’t escape.  Those dreams don’t bake away.

But at least I have pie, right?

1.  Roasted Garlic and Jack fougasse (recipe based on Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America)

2.  Tim’s Banana Cream Pie (recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

3.  Drunken Peach galette (recipe courtesy of Not Without Salt)

4.  Peach galette and Cinnamon Brown Sugar Ice Cream (I made this one up)

5.  Raspberry Tart (recipe courtesy of Bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking by Nick Malgieri)

18 Responses to “Attempting to bake away my sadness.”

  1. Esperanza September 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I’m so sorry that you had to navigate that emotional minefield on Friday and that it ruined the rest of your weekend. That sounds horrible.

    What does not sound horrible are all the amazing things you’ve been cooking and baking! They make my mouth water! I’m glad you have a happy place like that – and cooking is such a wonderful and important skill. I wish I had even an inkling of desire to cook but I really don’t. Maybe some day.

    Hugs my friend.

    • bodegabliss September 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      Well how about I just bake or cook for you? How’s that sound? 😉

  2. eggsinarow September 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I do that too…bread has been my thing. There is something therapeutic about baking, right? To go to a 5 year old’s birthday is not easy…hugs hugs hugs

  3. Mo September 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Yet more proof that you and I share a brain. Though I do think you have me beat at baking skills.
    And at this rate, I think I’ll be gaining weight just from looking at those pictures! Yum.
    FYI: You are SO cooking for Shmerson and I when we come to visit! Just making that clear.

    • bodegabliss September 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

      DUH! 😉 (It would be my pleasure…and honor!)

  4. Elphaba September 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Isn’t food amazing? I’m so glad you’ve found some solace in it.

  5. Port of Indecision September 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Sorry about the crappy weekend. I’m glad you’ve found something that helps lift your spirits, and damn does that peach galette look amazing!

  6. starfishkittydreams September 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Ah! Kid parties! Will they ever not suck?! I am sorry you had to go through that. I really think that the more you are surrounded by fertiles with children (esp. young ones and unborn ones) the harder it is.

    I love that you love to bake. I too love baking. There is just something magical about putting something into the oven and seeing it come out as something new. I am thoroughly impressed and inspired by your recent projects. And you’ve taught me something new. Now I know what a galette is, it looks both beautiful and delicious!

  7. jjiraffe September 6, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    There should be a warning at the beginning of this post not to click on the link if you’re hungry. Ok: I love pies (banana cream is my favorite!) and can I invite myself over to dinner? You think I’m kidding… 🙂

    These desserts look unbelievable. And the tacos?!? Yum!! What an awesome sounding meal. You are a seriously talented baker and chef!!

    I am so sorry that you had to deal with that party. Hugs…

    • bodegabliss September 7, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Um, I’d LOVE to cook for you! When can you come up? Come soon!

  8. Belle September 7, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    These look amazing! Im surprised and delighted at how many of us share a passion for cooking. Perhaps we need to start a forum for our culinary endeavors?

    I, too, find solice in cooking. I taught myself while in college and have not stopped since. My favorite way to spend a Sunday is in the kitchen creating an elaborate meal that we can savor that night. I love how my brain turns off when I’m cooking. It is. like Prozac that also tastes good.

    • bodegabliss September 7, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Totally! And I love that idea! I’ve thought about putting a separate page on my blog for my kitchen experiments but I’m lazy and it hasn’t happened. 🙂

  9. slcurwin September 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    It’s so great that you have something constructive to dive into that makes you feel good. I’ve got my reading…nothing productive comes out of that. I miss the days when I did art work (mostly painting) but they are long gone (along with my talent it seems).
    You know, baking is my weakness. Pies and cookies mostly. You’ve made me hungry. Do you by any chance make a lemon raspberry pie? It’s my most recent craving.

    • bodegabliss September 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      One moment….let me just whip one up for you…. 😉

  10. Kristen September 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Your desserts are so lovely and I’m glad you’ve found something that gives you joy. I so want a bite of your banana cream pie! My desserts never come out looking very pretty…amazing how good your pie crust looks on the first try!
    Sorry about the party. I feel like I’m always out of place and sneaking off to shed a few tears…I get it.
    And sorry for friends who aren’t there for you…that can hurt so much…

  11. endoandbeyond September 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    All of that looks so delectable! I was craving all of it by the end of your post. The photos are gorgeous and the food looks amazing.

  12. embracingtherain September 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Sorry you had a hard weekend. Your food looks amazing! I can relate to baking to escape. I usually only bake when I am really stressed or am having people over.

  13. cablearms September 19, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    big hugs, sweetie! xoxo

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