When River was a baby, I spent much of my day hours figuring out work, college, raising her, and meals. Of course, there were countless hours spent clicking on and off the oven, too. There was that year in which I stocked up on all of the professional baking supplies an amateur could gather at NY Cake. I made vanilla cakes from scratch, self-taught my way around fondant for birthdays, and learned how to naturally-dye buttercream to make the brightest anniversary cake, too.
I had given myself to a certain amount of growing and care. There wasn’t kids in school. Or precise work hours. And we weren’t in the middle of a universal crisis in which, teaching and spending time with children was less about consent. I’ve realized in our three weeks of staying home, between being productive and utterly paralyzed by the circumstances and news, that sustained romanticization of this time may be an error in mitigating trauma.
I’d like to say that most of our hours lately are where I find joy in a balance. But in truth, much of it is survival. I know what I need to do. And yes, feeling joy in baking quite the popular dish is part of earned techniques of survival. On occasion, I find myself repeating, “All in a day.” A way to measure these old and new skills in play at once. So when deciding between a round of math or emails, I decided to bake. Of course, baking requires a bit of math. Measuring, is a focus for River’s math as of late. A cup here. A tablespoon there. With Oak, baking quickly became science. Bananas quickly moving from whole to smashed between his fingers. Butter melting whithin minutes. Eggs cracked on glass with more ease than in comparison to a counter. Baking these days isn’t terribly romantic. And in a world like we are all inhabiting today, I dare to imagine much that is.
But what it is is smart. It is time spent together and a whole hour or so refining skills or learning new ones. It is consenting to connect to a version of myself I honestly, no longer recognize. Five, nine, and 30 is far from one and 21. It is inhabiting a privilege that is born from work, safety, and our Brooklyn home.
Baking banana bread isn’t science. But baking it with your kids instead of doing work, or in addition to the work, kind of is. If I had to argue about the method of this time, and the part we all must partake in, it is a bit of science isn’t it?
Here’s the reciepe to bake your own with your kiddos this week.
What are you baking with those you love (romantically and not), these days?
P.S most of my bowls and measuring cups are from Equal Parts. And during this specific time of feeding in need, through their non-profit @giveone, @patternbrands will be donating 1% of every Equal Parts purchase to @foodbank4nyc. Their goal is to help provide 50,000 meals for New Yorkers in need.
Hi LaTonya, banana bread looks delicious. My teenage son and I made vegan Shepard’s pie together and cupcakes. Although there is so much uncertainty right now I am grateful for this time when we are not breezing through rushed good mornings and forehead kisses good night because we are both exhausted.
I am using this time to home school but most of our lessons have been in home economics a forgotten important elective… and that definitely tells my age.
Wishing you well this evening, and please keep the inspiration coming!
Peace and Blessings
Love this Keisha!!!
OMG I remember Home Economics!!! Also Shop class! Did you have that as well?
Sewing, cooking, etc. And shop was just wood. Also typing class! Whatever happened to that?
Thank you! vegan shepherds pie sounds so good! Last night we made a cake and River is working on perfecting her scrambled egg, sewing things by hand, and O is mastering some folding of sheets and clothes. All is working and good.
I had the most amazing shop classes in the 6th grade—wood and metal! And a home ec teacher who was terrifying but taught me to turn the Pan handles to the inside of the stove and remove lipstick stains wish dish soap (I was 11 and didn’t wear lipstick but the lesson still stuck!). We moved cross country after that year and I still miss those classes. Like Keshia I’ve also been thinking of homeschool as a time to brush up on those skills. Thanks for your lovely words, as always! Sending love!
I loved making banana muffins with my Mom. One thing is for sure, your kids will have some comforting memories from this time.
So far we’ve only made (delicious) no knead bread from the Sullivan street bakery recipe. But we are cooking up a storm- kabocha squash gnocchi, vegan Mac n cheese, buffalo cauliflower, curries…it’s admittedly a bit escapist to just focus on making a meal for an hour and forget the world outside.