Friday, December 18, 2015

The Power of Baking

I have such strong memories of baking with my mom when I was little. Christmas was a massive push to produce huge quantities of cookies, tarts, Christmas cakes and wonderful bars and treats.  I really don't know why we needed so much when the only ones sharing goodies over the holidays were my mom, dad and me plus an uncle and aunt. I loved the excitement of baking and holiday cooking and I loved that special time with my busy working mom.

My Mother-in-law was famous for her baking. Her style was to produce tons of stuff all year round and always had the freezer stuffed. Company over? She just pulled some margarine container of cookies from the freezer. Come Christmas time she dipped into all the containers and produced lovely trays to put on her dining room table or to take to the various charity groups she supported.

When our kids were growing up we tried to bring all of the above into our traditions and added in treats and baking that were particular to our family. I took courses in making fancy cakes and I considered baking to be my hobby. I collected cookbooks, and I have more shapes of baking pans and fun tools than one would believe possible. They make me smile.

This week I feel a desperate urge to bake everything. I want to bake with my family and pass down the recipes. I want to share treats and give gifts of goodies to friends. Sometimes it is fun and sometimes it feels more like work and the cost of ingredients can get away on you.  Sometimes all the dirty baking dishes can get away on you!
 I am really busy and over committed right now and I don't have the energy for it.  I sure don't need all the calories that those lovely chocolaty treats come with. Common sense tells me the grocery store\s bakery has it covered. My daughters say lets make this favorite food or that favorite cookie. My Grandkids usually make gingerbread house with me however I haven't visited with them in weeks. Despite all this I still want to be baking!

For a while there I was physically unable to do much baking and cooking and it shot right up to the top of my rehab priorities. I worked with my occupational therapist on regaining my cooking skills and in fact I still have the goal sheets where we worked out what I wanted to accomplish and brought it down to my SMART goals.

 It was absolutely the right goal for me at the time and it worked on all those damaged skills.. hand control, planning, order of operation for activities and it even worked on my stamina! It was a useful skill. It was familiar. It was part of having a normal life. What I have recently come to understand is how complicated the idea of a "relevant" goal is.

The ladies and gentlemen in the personal care homes always enjoy the baking programs we do. For most people it is not about trying to get back skills like I was doing in rehab, but it is indeed about regaining a little bit of their former life.
Baking programs are a fun social event shared with others. The smell of the  ingredients, the act of stirring and pouring all have this sense of connecting us with a different time. The smell of the food baking and the taste of the food is evocative of the past. It is a sensory joy.
It brings us memories of shared times with family and a pride in producing and sharing something of value.  It is connecting our now with our past and giving us a sense of continuity.

When we bake we share our stories and tell about who we are.

1 comment:

Rebecca Dutton said...

Baking is a primal way to engage your clients. What a great way to share your talent.

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