Stepping off the plane, I was faced with a full-frontal assault. Beating into my skin and nose was not air. No. It was sludge. It was walking into a wet sponge and being expected to breathe.
Despite the liquid heat joyously attacking, it did not stop me from braving the heat of the oven to bake.
Growing up, baking was reserved for special occasions. My dad’s favorite Christmas gift was always his mother’s cookies; birthdays were my mom’s time to showcase her cheesecake. My first job landed me in the bakery and it wasn’t long before I began whipping up treats for an unexpected reason:
Baking is major stress relief!
Throughout college, my neighbor could always tell when finals were approaching when I knocked on her door with yet another cake. Post college, my interests diverted and gained athletic distractions but it wasn’t long before I craved the sweet time of baking cakes again.
Christmastime with Robbie had us baking in the kitchen. This started our kitchen-share program.
While any kitchen we partner in does not have red tape dividing the areas, our areas of expertise are very cleared divided.
I cannot cook.
Well– I could if I really needed to. I put cooking on the same line-litem as laundry and dishes: must be in dire need before I succumb. Dreams do not include prepping lamb, skinning fish, roasting potatoes, or any further items required to feed humans.
The trek to Texas for family, intrinsically put Robbie and I back in the kitchen for a Space Wars: Humid Houston edition. The well-known struggle between two foodies who are hand-crafting creations in the same space set in an unfamiliar environment in the sweltering tropics of America.
“You have to move your cakes, Em,” coos a manly voice. “Your cakes can’t cool where I’m prepping meat.”
As if. How can I bake two decadent cakes in a tiny corner when he has commandeered the stove top and two other counters.
“I need the grinder-shaver-thing,” I barked at him.
“It’s in the sink to be washed,” replied the grizzly man.
I also have to learn to share sometimes.
Silently, we trot to each other’s stations for a little taste and our expressions filled with jubilee give away the crime.
As the sizzle of his hard work faded to the background, I welcomed my ‘zone.’
This zone for me is found a few different places: on a trail running, alone biking, one hold away from the top while rock climbing, swimming laps, and watching the layers of food groups coagulate together to bake.
Time flies by and before I know it, I’m happy as can be. Funny thing about catharsis. But I’ll honestly admit, having Robbie walk around the next day with an empty plate which once held cake or having my mom call to scold me for leaving cake at her house just makes me smile.
That and kicking Robbie out of the kitchen from time to time.