13 February 2007

instructions

When you get the blues it’s best to start baking right away. You'll have serious regrets if you wait too long, so push up your sleeves. Late afternoon, that first crack of an egg against the metal bowl gets you going. Measure out the cups of sugar and oil, the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, baking powder. Scooping pumpkin out of the can makes you think of pies cooked for the holidays, hissing radiators, clear cold nights. You’ll decide that you can never go wrong with a warm orange. It’s the color of afternoon napping on the best couch in the world with the love of your life. But don’t get all sad thinking about that. There’s a job to be done. Get some flour on your hands and say a prayer of thanks.

See, you’re feeling better already. Turn on some jazz now--Miles made music for afternoons like this--and stir. Keep stirring. Don’t even think about getting out the electric mixer. Make your arm tired with the stirring, the scraping of bowls with that one perfect spoon. Today, do everything by hand.

Put it in the oven, and in about twenty minutes your house will start to smell like spicy sweetness. Really, you can imagine that if you were outside right now, peering in the windows of your own life—-this warm house, the clanging of pots and pans, the opening and shutting of cupboard doors--you can see that one might even feel a little jealous of how wonderful it is to be where you are at this moment.

It will start to get dark—-dusk falling outside, the metro speeding by on the tracks behind your building taking tired commuters out of the city, home. Look out the window and you’ll see those empty armed trees waiting for spring, just waiting. You’ll guess that they know what life is about. Your plants there on the windowsill, they could use some care.

It will take a while for it to be ready. While it cooks, do the dishes by hand, letting that warm soapy water get all the way up to your elbows. Make some coffee and drink it black, peel and eat a clementine slice by slice. The combination will knock your socks off—-if you’re wearing any. I guess I should mention it’s best to wear socks when baking. Don’t wear your winter boots, and for goodness sake, don’t go barefoot. That has to be some kind of heresy.

Tomorrow you can take one of those loaves over to your friend, who has just had a baby. You can hold that baby and smell her soft, clean head, you can continue to pray that you would be patient: patient enough to enjoy stirring by hand, to enjoy passing the time it takes to cook something sweet and spicy in the oven. Patient enough to wait for that African Violet on the windowsill to bloom again, for spring to come so that you can smell the soil and get your hands dirty and plant something new. Wait. Pray. Today, that is the recipe.



12 Comments:

Anonymous Neil E. Das said...

Lovely piece.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Love it Angela- Sounds like a tasty recipe - Snow day today - Take heart!

12:59 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Makes me wish I had baked up something yummy to so our house smelled lovely while I watched "Out of Africa". I guess I can still bake stuff, I just don't have to eat it right?

3:53 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

p.s. Patience is one of those virtues that is all to often disregarded in our "I want it now culture".

3:57 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

I love you roomie

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You joy me!
Heidi V.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

you are the amazingest ...you create life with you words warm and beatiful, cherishable life.

ange...ami tomake khub bhalo bashi. ami tomake cola culi korte chai. amar icche je tumi ekane tara tari asbe.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

an yes i have huge problems with spelling!!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Renae said...

Ooh, thank you Angela. I hadn't been over for a "visit" in awhile. What a wonderful day to construct for yourself while praying "How long, O Lord?"

I must try.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your a beautiful girl! I enjoy your writing!

Laura

7:09 PM  
Blogger Daphne said...

this is my favorite post. i love your writing, ange. and that photo of the clementine...beauiful!! if the blues inspired this one, i saw be blue! but dont be blue. hehe

10:30 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

This writing is positively apocryphal! Love it! Love it! Love it!

9:57 AM  

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