Kitchen Creations (Or How Erica Got Her Groove Back)

A few years ago I began to stake slow claim of the kitchen. It started with my way too exciting purchase of a bread machine and only continued when I was gifted an industrial sized slow cooker. Both appliances became the starting point of my culinary trials and tribulations. Over time, I gravitated to other modern conveniences and eventually declared the whole of the kitchen as MY territory. Trespassers beware.

A sample of one of the many awesome birthday cake creations my mom made…

I’m not exactly sure when my obsession with the kitchen started, nor am I surprised that it has always been in my repertoire.  In my younger days my mom and I would bake together for holidays and special occasions. I was the kid with the super awesome character birthday cakes thanks to having a mom who became a cake decorator extraordinaire.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve always immensely enjoyed baking. I managed to master my grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe just I was tall enough to reach the top of the stove. (A recipe loved so much that our dog once woke her out of bed to get him one). Painted sugar cookies, maple nut bars, and cake pops have also made my master baking list. As a teenager I even made bacon cheese bread for the long bus rides that became the time suck of my travel skating team. Throughout my childhood, being the little whipper snapper that I was, I loved to concoct the weirdest of “dishes” out of the most random items. I was the kid who loved making mud pies. I even have a distinct memory of wetting down my dog’s dry food and making pies for him. (Still not sure how that last one went over).

My childhood chef idol…

Point being, I feel at home in the kitchen. I’m not the greatest of chefs; I’ll be the first to admit that (especially considering my first cooking idol was a Muppet). I have a steadfast tendency to make the same dishes over and over again, or use the same ingredients in different dishes. What I have come to learn however is that this is considered a positive cooking practice rather than a gastric detriment. In order to achieve near perfection, or in the very least consistent permanence, one needs to practice, and practice some more, no matter their chosen craft. Cooking and baking, for me, has provided a creative outlet that I, apparently, have gravitated towards since I was a kid. While I’m still fairly new to the cooking end of things, baking has always been a solstice for me. It is not only something I immensely enjoy doing but produces an end product that I can share with a host of others. A definite win-win.

Once I re-embraced my love for the kitchen I found a niche that I had long disconnected from. I literally got my groove back. Recently, a soon-to-be-married friend asked if I would make the desserts for her upcoming showers (yes, plural). I was absolutely ecstatic at the request.  For the first time MY kitchen creations were being personally called upon. For me, it was not only a generous appeal but also an incredibly gratifying personal demand. My fun culinary concoctions had just been granted a greater audience. Oh happy day!

Will I ever market my epicurean delights? Doubt it. But I will continue to experiment, practice, and share what I do create. There’s a secret joy in providing family and friends with edible treats. Meal creation can be as simple or complicated as you make it. Sweet or salty, we all must eat to survive, so it makes sense to have some fun doing it.

I definitely feel at home in the kitchen. It has become an outlet for experimentation and a refuge away from the modern world. Food production may have changed over time but at its crux it still requires a human touch and a dash of love.

Amazes me that I’m still single.

Erica 🙂

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