It’s the experimentation, maybe, or the hot sweet of the first nibble melting across all tastebuds. That satisfaction which comes from quenching a secret urge. The anticipation of it. Perhaps, but more than that maybe, just reliable old procrastination taking a foothold in the kitchen at the stove and kitchen instruments. That’s what drove me to baking brownies this evening.
Since my post-graduate years granted me the very first opportunity to utilize my own kitchen, I’ve fought against the magnetic pull toward the oven. The first one was a long student-abused box with a loose knob, a smudged glass window that could never come clean. Ancient grease stains from unknown causes lingered inside it; the fossilized evidence of cravings of the post-adolescent adult forever marking the insides. This wreck of a kitchen appliance provided the tool to avoid all studious work and became the center for more cuisine oriented creativity, much to the delight of my housemates. After drawn out minutes staring at the laughing cursors blink on the white screen of my laptop, my brain began concocting crave-worthy baked goodies. The oven calling to me. My mind clung to the images and smells until I relented to the safety of the mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and my ancient oven. Chocolate chip banana bread’s buttered aroma wafted through the house, cinnamon snickerdoodles and, that old standby, chocolate chip cookies.
I’ll get to work just after I finish this last batch, I always told myself, but instead paced the kitchen, or pondered upon the people on the busy street below the apartment, waiting for that first bite. The one just out of the oven, scorching but oh so delightful. After the crazed baking, I would drag myself back upstairs to defeat the blank screen, leaving the rest of the treats to be devoured by the others in the house.
On from that first oven, baking has continued to call to me whenever I’ve had anything pressing to get finished, a deadline approaching. Stuffed figs wrapped in bacon, spinach lasagna, homemade crackers and bread, but usually it’s all about the sweets and chocolate. I can’t seem to help myself. My present cheap countertop oven is now one year old. Despite the troublesome element, which begins and ends its almost square shape in the back right corner and leads to more heat in said corner producing cakes, treats and casseroles slightly burnt around the outside and drier in that one section, it has served me well.
Or unwell, depending on perspective. Now, I don’t have a houseful of roommates to gobble up every delaying tray of cookies or I’ll-do-it-tomorrow brownies. I’m left with the problem of what to do with the sweet leftovers after I’ve satiated my desire of time-wasting and the first out of oven taste. What to do, what to do, not to add to my less youthful waistline? There’s also the issue of time. My obligatory time dedicated to my job has grown, leaving the time allowed for my own endeavors much diminished. Whipping up a tray of cookies, which has helped me to refocus on my creative tasks, now can take up all the free time I have to do the productive things I want for myself.
There must be others out there, who suffer from this procrastination baking syndrome, looking for the remedy. Sell on the oven, don’t keep the big five in the house (flour, butter, sugar, egg and chocolate) all at the same time, stuff workspace drawers with sweet tooth defeaters, or just fight it, fight until the urge subsides. Perhaps one of these might work, or perhaps not. Maybe baking is my own delicious kind of meditation. Something to clear the mind, overcome writer’s block and start fresh back on the page.