Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On Fire

With the heat and humidity of summer stifling, T-Top (Tracy) and I often overhear people wonder how we can bake in this heat. As I sit in my poorly ventilated kitchen, penultimate batch of choco-rocket cookies in the oven, rocking out to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” I’m unfazed; I’m on fire. Sylvia Plath I am not, but my oven has its own meditative pull. Allow me to muse a moment on heat, fire, and the like.

Truth be told, with every opening of the oven door, I feel not only the warm of so many BTUs on my face, but the warmth of so many memories in my heart: memories of rural Wisconsin summers. Young love, county fairs, skinned knees. I remember windows open wide, the smell of fresh-washed sheets wafting in from the line. Returning from the thrill of the berry hunt, snitching the ripest, reddest raspberries—one on each fingertip—before they could be turned into the most delicious homemade jam. For my family, summer was baking and canning season. It was a way of convening with the harvest, with each other, appreciating nature and family and interconnectedness. Having grown up in the Midwest, where affection isn’t communicated in words (take a listen to “Prairie Home Companion”), food equals love.

Even Johnny Cash sings: “The taste of love is sweet….”

I wooed my first love with a dozen cookies (store-bought) and a note:
“I like you. Do you like me? Check yes or no.”
Each arrow pointing to the yes box was one of Cupid’s arrows in my heart. Looking back at the break-up, a distance measured in months and miles, I blame the bakery.

And I bake today, in this heat, because I love participating in and nourishing community spirit. And because sweets are sweet!

I’m especially excited about this week’s events; they take me back to first loves and country summers:

Thursday, July 24, 7-10pm
Summer Mixtape Volume 1: Get Smart Edition, Opening

Saturday, July 26, noon - 6pm
NADA County Fair

STEP RIGHT UP and buy sweet treats for your sweetheart!
Here’s the menu:

-Choose your own cupcake adventure: Mix-and-Match your favorite icing and cupcake flavors
-Cinna-choco-oat cookies
-ChocoRocket cookies
-Lemon Sandwich Cookies
-Chocolate Rebel Bars
-Strawberry Mint Pops
-Mango Pops

With love, cupcakes, and skinned knees,