On the list for my weekly shopping trip: sour cream for coffee cake, orange to zest, and Pam or some other cooking spray, which has been out of stock at our store since so many of us are are baking while stuck at home.
Since quarantine, B and V (who I’ve dubbed the fabulous baker boys) have made chocolate chip banana bread, lemon chia muffins (mom’s choice), apple pie, peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks, snickerdoodles, an amazing tres leches cake for Cinco de Mayo, and blueberry pancakes for Mother’s Day.
I have more pictures of the process and less of the finished products, although everything has been delicious. I sometimes request they use my gluten free flour so I can enjoy the fruit of their labor, but honestly it’s the labor itself I find so heartening. Because it’s a struggle to find activities to engage V, where he can feel a sense of accomplishment and competence. It’s why he was having such a good school year – with lots of job sampling success – and much of why the last two months have been so hard.
We all want to feel useful and productive, to have a sense of purpose. For me that comes from writing as well as cooking and gardening and other creative work which now includes helping out with baking projects: I’m mostly recipe finder and ingredient locator, leaving the actual measuring and mixing to the guys.
V can spend short periods of time on woodworking or mowing the lawn and a few household chores like mopping or taking out the trash, but baking is the only venture where he can stay focused, in large part due to his brother’s gentle presence and clear instructions. He gets V to help crack eggs and scoop out dry ingredients and whisk the wet ones. Watching them I feel gratitude and also a sense of relief, that it’s possible for V to collaborate, and to do something to completion.
During the school year we contribute to a monthly staff breakfast; we otherwise try to share our baked goods with others as much as possible. I’ve thought of starting a job training program at his school with a few allergen free recipes I was refining (Celebration Bars, named for his school) or a home-based business of key lime pies, my most requested item, which I make for most family events.
We haven’t been sharing our bounty to be cautious although from what I’ve read, it now seems safe to do so since there is no evidence to support the transmission of the virus through food, according to both the CDC and the FDA. (COVID-19 primarily spreads from person to person, when someone coughs or sneezes within six feet.) If someone is comfortable ordering takeout and delivery, they might also feel safe accepting homemade food.
So if anyone out there could use some pie, scones, quick bread or cookies in their lives, the baker brothers are happy to oblige. For now we’ll keep measuring and mixing, our dining table like a science lab or art studio, the place we create and feel good about our small delicious accomplishments.