I made soup and some delicious White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies with Almonds.
Generally, I'd say my cooking and baking skills are pretty decent. They're not superb, I'm certain, but on 98% of the time, what I make is edible, and at least somewhat enjoyable. And, for the most part, I've always loved working in the kitchen.
I blame my Grandma. But, I blame her in a great way, of course. As in, I appreciate what she instilled in me oh-so-many years ago. I used to help her bake cakes, cookies, bars, etc. I helped her create suppers and dinners, and even breakfasts. I loved working in the kitchen with her. I thought (and still do) she was the most amazing cook. In a way, I think I idolized her on some levels.
Since my grandma passed in 2007, I haven't been in the mood to bake or cook nearly as frequently. I don't know that it really has anything to do with her death, or more so the fact that on most days and nights, I'm home alone, and it's just not as fun for me to cook or bake for myself. So, I don't do it often.
But, as I mentioned, lately, it's such a strong desire.
I think I miss her more than I let myself believe. Her picture with me from our wedding day overlooks our couch, so I see her daily, but I guess I haven't let myself really miss her and revisit our memories much in a while.
I had a great time creating the bars I mentioned (and linked) above. I love watching all of the ingredients come together before my eyes. I love the smell of things in the oven. I love how when you put a bake-able in the oven, it comes out a different consistency, texture, and even size, sometimes.
I don't love waiting for things to cool so I can sample them. I deal.
When I was done with my creation, and it was cool, and I had it frosted and beautiful, I took a sample, and fell in love with it. I was so excited that I posted it on my blog right away and on Facebook, and text my mom to tell her how good they were.
My mom, my aunt (her sister), and my uncle showed up not long after, and they sampled them too (well, my mom did a while later), and they LOVED them. Jake loved them. My aunt and uncle each had seconds because they loved them so much. And Kat (my aunt), text me on the way home to tell me how much they loved them. And she posted on Facebook, more than once, how amazing and delicious they were.
I'd say they were a hit.
I won't lie, I love hearing that my creations are tasty. But for some reason, when my mom and my aunt and my uncle and my husband were telling me how great these bars were, I was really filled with a sense of pride. Why? I didn't create the recipe or anything. I just followed the instructions, and served.
But, still, I was filled with pride.
I sat and mulled it over for a bit, and I realized why I felt that way.
I felt like their compliments, especially my mom and my aunt, meant more than compliments usually do.
Because they shared my grandma's baked goods too. They grew up with them, too. They enjoyed them for years.
And, I felt that, somewhere deep down, they were probably thinking and reflecting on my grandmother's baked goods.
To me, it felt like they were, in an unspoken and maybe unconscious way, comparing me to the "master" of the kitchen, Grandma Leora. They were saying that I did a great job. And through them, I felt like Gma was telling me "good girl. Great work!"
I might be imagining it, but that's how I felt.
And it felt good.
Ever since Saturday, I've been thinking about those compliments, and my grandma, a lot more than usual. I just can't get her, the memories, and the joy of baking out of my mind.