It’s all about the timing

I can’t tell you which is the chicken or which the egg.
I love my Granny, Barbara Frances (New) Lawrence, like my epicardium; her dying in 1993 did not slow the ways I see myself in her -or- her in myself (I can’t say which it is).

One way I’ve always aligned myself with her has to do with hurrying—with how she hated to be hurried. One of my earlier memories is my mother commenting on this: on how my Mammaw would come up behind my grandmother and bustle her along, and how my Granny detested it.

So I can’t say whether I despise feeling rushed because I, too, tend toward an innately slower pace and found validation in her experience, or that, knowing her response, I felt safe to live into my irritation when my mother, too, hurried me. Or My Sweetie did, or any of a number of unsuspecting souls did when I worked for hire. Leave. Me. Alone. I Am Doing Fine, if not speedily. Sometimes I just want to ponder what I’m doing a little more… particularly when I’m uncertain.

Today I started the cake an hour or so later than I’d thought I might. I didn’t think much about this until 5:30pm or so, when my thoughts turned to My Sweetie coming home and starting dinner…
…in a kitchen where each counter-space was already turned into a particular cake work station. There was the mise station, the icing mise station, the mixer station, the last-steps-and-into-the-pan station—everything set out, checked, and re-checked. Because I made a chiffon cake for the first time today, and the magic of a chiffon cake is in the soft-peak beaten egg whites. Separating the eggs, making sure not a scrap of yellow yolk-fat troubled the whites, took all my attention and not a small amount of time in and of itself.

Realizing the time, I felt myself hunching up, feeling rushed already—I hadn’t even gotten a chance to start the egg-beating! I’d never done soft-peak egg-beating! (Though he likely wouldn’t be home for nearly an hour more.)

In one of those mental snap-shifts I get, I popped straight out of cake-frame into:

So that’s why I like baking just fine, but I don’t like cooking-cooking!

In baking, like with the casseroles and Crock-Pot meals I also make, all the components are assembled, prepared, combined, and then placed on cooking auto-pilot. There’s no careful timing needed, unlike, we’ll say, stir-fry. Some ingredient chemistries require a bit of attention—the leavening in a quick-bread will bubble itself away if one leaves the batter on the counter long enough—but it’s not that exact. Even the beaten eggs for the chiffon cake were stable enough to wait while I assessed how their enfolding was going.

Baking won’t rush me. It will wait its turn while I read the recipe one more time, and fish the forgotten butter from the fridge.

The cooking My Sweetie does often has TIMING. For one, he’s making a meal, not a single dish (most of the time). He assures me that having an oven set to 250 degrees F manages the overlapping margins nicely, but the work still feels crowded and rushed to me. This dish and that dish might end up requiring intervention at once! I only have so much attention! And my attention fares poorly as I try to shave it into slices.

All this time I’d been thinking I didn’t want to cook because my cautiousness gets illogically amped up around heat sources. Which is indeed a thing that happens. But I suspect the rushing is the real burr under my saddle.

Well, now that I know better maybe I can practice more effectively when I do cook. One step closer to feeding myself well when I’m on my own-!


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