Once upon a time, but really not all that long ago, I would come home from my 9-5 desk job in the evening and bake something for my blog or just for fun. I’d plot my baking adventure either on my train home or during those final few minutes at the office where I would watch the clock anxiously to determine the most appropriate time to scamper out the door.
I would often purchase a few last minute ingredients on my commute back to my apartment and would eat a quick dinner before getting out my supplies and baking up a storm. I’d wrap up around 10 or 11 pm, dutifully clean my dishes, and head to bed, imagining the excitement I’d be greeted with the next day upon arriving with fresh cookies or cupcakes.
I haven’t baked after work like this for a very long time. These days, I’m working in a restaurant and generally not returning to my apartment until about 11 pm if I head straight home or later if I go out for drinks with my coworkers. By the time I walk in my front door, I’m generally both exhausted and famished after standing on my feet for hours and not eating for as much time.
These days, I don’t even like to cook a real dinner when I get home because of the extra few minutes it would require me to stand and wait if I made something even as simple as stir-fried vegetables with rice, a staple dinner at apartments past when I worked standard desk jobs. I usually opt for something like macaroni and cheese (made from a box) or soup, opened from a can and simply warmed over the stove.
Outside of work, I'm working toward an MLA in Gastronomy and dedicating all of my "free" time to reading and writing assignments for class. Baking for fun has taken a back seat unfortunately.
This week, I worked a shift where the pace was steady and the number of workers was excessive, so I got sent home early enough to think of baking during my brisk walk home. I knew I would be stopping into the grocery store to satisfy a craving for ice cream — winter weather makes me crave hot beverages and frozen treats equally — and decided I would also pick up the missing ingredients to make my favorite cookies for an upcoming cookie swap.
I stocked up on supplies, relaxed for a few minutes eating my Ben & Jerry’s straight from the carton, and set out my supplies. I quickly remembered something I’d long forgotten: baking at night is incredibly peaceful.
There’s no added sound from the outside world of cars driving by or people having conversations and watching TV. Roommates go to sleep, leaving the kitchen yours to reign alone. Any stress from the day quickly fades away with each methodical measuremnt and calculated stir.
These quiet moments are few and far between these days, but I’m stocking up for the winter so that I can bake whenever the opportunity presents itself. I’m hoping the next few weeks will be mellow before I start a whole slew of new adventures in mid January. Grad school, what are you doing to me?!
As an aside, if you're looking for a food-related book recommendation, I've got a few! Those photos are primarily books I've been reading for class. In the next few years, I'll be building up quite a collection.
Til next time, happy baking!
-Young Idealistic Baker