The Loveliness of Baking ...
Today's Mass: The First Sunday of Lent

A Year in a Baker's Kitchen

As I sat down to post about baking, so many things came to mind, it was hard to knowLoveliness_logo_11   where to begin. There are many things I love about baking ~ some of them I've learned from firsthand knowledge, some of them I've gathered from memory ... while many more I've conjured up through pure speculation (in other words, I read a lot of magazines and cookbooks).

I should begin by saying that I don't bake nearly as often as I'd like, and consequently, I'm not nearly as accomplished a baker as I perhaps could be. I come from a long line of excellent bakers, so, really, I have no excuse. When I remember back to family meals and holidays growing up, I always think of the delicious foods on the table, the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen ... standing at my mother's elbow, peeking over my grandmother's shoulder. At an early age I began collecting recipes - family cards and then torn sheets from my mother's magazines. To this day I hoard recipes in the hundreds; sadly, not nearly so many have come to fruition.

Why? Well, that is a post for another time - when I'm ready to delve into my time management issues. For today, in honor of Cheryl's upcoming fair, I want to concentrate on the loveliness of baking. Simply put, I don't bake enough and that's not lovely - that's frustrating. For today, I want to pretend I am a more constant and competent baker. I'm going to imagine all of the things I could bake some day ... some season ... some year!

The loveliness of baking, for me, begins with the inspiration. I find myself moved to bake as the calendar turns. As a holiday nears, I am eager to cook for it; as a season changes, I rush to celebrate it with signature fruits and flavors.

So that's where I found my focus today, in inspiration. I rounded up a year's worth of ideas and recipes that I would love to try in the coming months. That list grew quite long, and mind you, I'm not planning to make all of these things - my imagination, as it often does, got the better of me!

For today, I hope you enjoy peek in a baker's kitchen ...

In winter, the kitchen gets a good scrub down after the holidays. Depleted supplies are noted and replaced. Bits of greenery are plucked down, holiday knicknacks are packed away, and all feels refreshed and new. In the other room a fire crackles merrily, and just outside a gentle snow has started to fall. 

It's time to get baking, for winter brings ...

Spring brings warmer days and open windows letting in a soft new breeze. Pretty white curtains flutter in the fresh air and a windowbox full of pansies dance just outside.

Spring also brings the first seasonal produce and plenty of opportunities to bake ...

Summer finds us spending more time outside than in, and that's as it should be ... but there's still plenty of opportunity for baking! Fresh produce is at its most plentiful, so stop by the farm stand and pick up a bunch, a bushel or peck!

Summer days bring simple but glorious delights, like ...

Autumn draws us back into the kitchen. The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and the days are growing short once again. Our baking days kick into high gear as we head into the holidays.

Autumn brings homey and humble things like ...

Now, next of course comes the baker's favorite time of the year - Christmas! That will have to be a post all its own, because there's simply no end to the baking ideas there ... when fresh supplies are laid in and dark cozy afternoons are unfolding ... we bake together ... listening to carols ... watching the day's light fade as the Christmas lights come on ... oops, here I go again - better wrap up! :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I'm off to buy some flour! (And don't forget Cheryl's fair on Monday!)