Baking for Neighbors

There has been so much going on here. Much talk of art and practice and theory. But there is more than just art happening in my neck of the woods.

There is also cake.

A friend of mine got me this gorgeous bunt pan as a gift.  (Isn’t it pretty? Almost too pretty to bake in? Nothing is that pretty.)

It was about time I broke it in.

I have a neighbor who loves my daughter. I can’t explain it but the two of them have this amazing connection that has absolutely nothing to do with me. Which is a gift, because it takes a village to raise a child.

And there was a particular day that I needed a village. I had so many errands to run and I did not want my baby to be miserable and stuck in a car seat for six hours.

So my lovely neighbor watched her. (They read books and played the xylophone. Which, let’s be honest, is a pretty great way to time and I would love it if someone volunteered to do the same with me.)

So later that week I baked my neighbor a cake.

And not because she needed it. More because I needed it. (Sans xylophones, baking is the next best thing.)

It was raining outside and I needed to listen to jazz and go through the motions of creaming together butter and sugar. I needed to watch cocoa powder work its magic until the batter became dark and fragrant, like coffee grounds.  I needed to do this work slowly and let it perfume my house while I licked the underside of the spatula before cleaning the dishes.

Sometimes it is not eating the cake that is the point.

Making the cake is.

Later that night I walked down my block with my baby in one arm and the cake in the other. (Which takes talent, I might add.)

I got a lot of funny looks, but I like to interpret them as hopeful longings that perhaps, I was coming to their doorstep. I am sure it was more the humor of watching me wrestling my daughter’s longing fingertips from the center of the chocolate cake, but I can’t be sure.

It is a satisfying feeling to ring someone’s doorbell and greet them with a chocolate cake.

What my lovely neighbor does not know, is that the truly satisfying part for me was not in the giving, but in the making.

If you ever have a chance to bake for a neighbor, preferably in a rainstorm, I highly suggest you take it. It may make their evening, but it will certainly make yours.

 

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