There's something about baking just for the sheer pleasure in it. The creation process that goes from raw ingredients to hot, fresh from the oven, smells oh so good. I have realized that since my return from Iraq, I seem to be doing it as therapy without knowing it. What led me to this conclusion is the fact that I have given away almost all of what I've made even before I was diagnosed as diabetic.
As I look back through my life, I can see how there was always an interest in baking. Of course in my younger days it was all pre-made mixes out of a box. But being young without a focus, and too many interests in other things, it never really developed.
It's only now in my mid-forties that I'm looking at it as what I want to do for the rest of my life. I would like to do it for a living but am prepared to accept it as just a sideline if that's how my life goes. My military career is drawing to a close after twenty-six years and making my living in the culinary world seems to be the only thing that brings out any passion and interest for me (aside from books of course). I need to do something that I love and care about, just punching a clock for a living at a job is living death as far as I'm concerned.
My ultimate goal is to be involved in food somehow. My dream is to open a small cafe or make and sell baked goods at farmer's markets. Only time will tell if I realize those dreams. Who knows what the future holds, I sure don't.
I do know the satisfaction of watching others eat what I've made. It tells me I've done something good. That I can create a solid, tangible thing that not only is sustenance, but pleasureable to people. Something real. I've taken good things from the earth; grains, fruits, and vegetables and turned them into a finished product that gives someone nutrition and is pleasing to the palate.
The two instructors I had this past semester told me I had talent and worthy goals. Their words meant something to me and I have to pursue it.
"[Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread." M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating