My mom spent my childhood punishing me and my siblings.
Store-bought cookies and Wonder Bread were treats from the Gods, but my mom did all of our baking. So instead of Oreos or Chips Ahoy cookies, we had to endure homemade chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles and gingersnaps. We were SO picked on. And we let her know it.
Every fews days, she would make bread. She had miniature bread pans so we could make our own loaves. (I would make tiny sandwiches for my dolls and eat them: the sandwiches, not the dolls.) While the bread was still hot, she’d cut us a thick slice and slather homemade strawberry jam on top. It was like eating an angel. (Probably not a good description.) But we constantly begged her to buy “store-bought” bread.
Instead of baked goods from the grocery store, we had to endure homemade oatmeal cakes with caramel frosting, raisin bars with a vanilla glaze, cherry-filled sugar cookies and soft chocolate cookies with cream filling. We were SO deprived. We made sure mom knew how much we suffered.
My friends would BEG to eat her baked treats. We thought they were crazy. My mom’s cookies were NOTHING like what you could buy in stores.
When mom baked pies she took leftover pie crusts strips, sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar and baked them until they were crispy and delicious. I’d burn my fingers EVERY time trying to get a piece before it had cooled. (I’m still pretty greedy when it comes to pie crust.)
Occasionally, she would bring home a loaf of soft, chewy Wonder Bread. We’d take slices, roll them into little balls and eat them like manna from heaven. Because we were stupid. And entirely ungrateful.
I would give almost ANYTHING to have a loaf of mom’s bread or a batch of her oatmeal cookies. She taught me (after many years of my complaining) that baking is equivalent to loving.
My mom taught me to truly enjoy baking. I’m not a gourmet chef by any stretch of the imagination, but spending the afternoon with my grandkids frosting sugar cookies, or smelling cinnamon rolls baking on a Sunday morning, brings back memories of watching mom in the kitchen, cooking for us ungrateful little brats.
And when MY daughters erupted in ecstasy when I brought home a bag of Keebler Elf Cookies so they wouldn’t have to eat my homemade stuff, I would just smile.