Anyone who knows me, knows I’m all about the baking. It’s my “jam”, my favourite, my happy place, one of the things I’m known for. (Hopefully not the most scintillating thing I’m known for.) With hospitality on my mind, I want to dig into the why’s and what’s. Your “jam” might be the art of conversation, making others feel comfortable, rustling up a roast dinner for 20, being a hugger, a listener, or something completely different. For me, the simple act of baking is more than showing a glimmer of hospitality toward others. It’s also for my own soul care…
Before you go thinking I’ve gone cuckoo-in-the-kitchen, hear me out. Perhaps you share my love for baking or perhaps the mere thought of a baking tray brings you out in hives. If you’re in the camp of the latter, go with something you do on the daily which is life-giving for you and a blessing of sorts to others. You may not even know it’s a thing yet. Bear with me.
“Baking may be regarded as a science, but it’s the chemistry between the ingredients and the cook that gives desserts life. Baking is done out of love, to share with family and friends, to see them smile.” Anna Olson
I was not raised in the kitchen. (I hear my family chortling from here.) Far from it. In fact, when I landed in Canada at the age of 26, I had never attempted to bake so much as a cookie in my life. This was soon rectified when a new Canadian friend discovered my incompetence and swiftly went about giving me weekly sessions in the kitchen. Yes, an angel in an apron. And to my delight, I discovered baking was not only easy if you followed the recipe, but it was something I could do with my 3-year-old daughter. And so it began.
“A party without cake is just a meeting.” Julia Child
In time, baking cookies with all 3 of my kids became the norm. Messy, yes. But I have the fondest memories of pudgy flour-smeared hands and a merry band of willing “taste-testers.” Quite honestly, back in the bedlam days, baking with the kids was the only time when I actually enjoyed the kitchen. Rushed dinners and hectic schedules never afforded me time to fully appreciate the act of providing nourishment for my people. I guess that comes with maturity and a lack of kids hanging off your legs. Shauna puts it beautifully:
“I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.” Shauna Niequist
If “feeding people is a way of loving them” then why are we so afraid to open our homes? In my mind, baking is a beautiful way to love people. Inviting someone over for tea and cake does not have to be a full-blown production. Just tea. And cake. (That easy-peasy recipe that never goes wrong.)
(Follow me on INSTAGRAM for sporadic yumminess.)
Now I look back and see that baking has been my go-to when I’m stressed, sad, happy, excited, or need to just do something practical. It’s been beneficial to family, friends, neighbours, church, and strangers—but it’s also been beneficial to me. It helps me exhale and put life in perspective on crazy days. It’s my little bit of soul care:
- COMFORT: In the kitchen, I am literally “at home”, in my comfort zone, there are no surprises.
- ACHIEVEMENT: When I’m taking one step forward and two steps back in other areas of my life, I resort to baking one of my tried-and-trusted recipes, knowing that “ingredients + recipe = result!”
- INDECISION: When I need to make a decision and don’t know what on earth to do first— I bake a new recipe that will require my concentration and stop the fretting and the dithering.
- OFFERING: If I see someone with a need and don’t know how else to fill it, I bake for them!
- DOABLE: “Know your limit, stay within it” rings true in the kitchen for me. If I’m short on time or energy or inspiration, but I want to serve food in some capacity, baking a cake is fancy enough to present confidently and easy enough to not cause me stress.
- THERAPY: Seriously, for some, going through the simple, therapeutic motions of measuring and adding and stirring and icing— it slows us in the very best way.
- JOY: Yeah, I bake for the joy of it. I love to see the delight on recipients’ faces, and frankly, I love to partake of the results, too! (Hello chocolate.)
BAKERS/ WANNA-BE BAKERS: I have to share my favourite baking website and book with you! (It’s my Amazon affiliate link to the book, which means I get a very tiny commission while you pay the regular price. Full disclosure here.)
SPRINKLES BAKING BOOK by Candace Nelson is gorgeous and the cupcakes turn out perfectly!
SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION is a website full of all sorts of delicious recipes— I’ve used lots of them, and every single one has been a success. Check it out!
Maybe baking is your “grace gift” to serve others and maybe it’s not. But rest assured, you have your “jam” and God can use it to not only bless others but breathe life into your own weary bones. Let me know what your jam is in the comments below? I’d love to know!
P.S. I usually include a YUMMY RECIPE in my monthly newsletter— feel free to sign up HERE and you’ll also receive my FREE e-book, Diamond Devos 31!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: