The morning woke me gently today. I am grateful to live in an area that is
like a park. Nature makes me smile with its gift of verdant hills across the
way. As I breathe in, I become present and aware of my thoughts, mostly
centered this morning on our connection and responsibility to one another.
Stretch in gratitude, prepare to live another good day, safely indoors if you
can. You will not regret taking care of your health and those around you.
When I was growing up, our family entertained a lot. I was fortunate to be
immersed in the spirited atmosphere that invited and included reminiscing,
good food and laughter. I realized then that I enjoyed entertaining people.
I learned how much planning, work and generosity were part of even the
simplest parties or dinners I was invited to or reciprocated. We also went
to elegant restaurants in New York to celebrate various milestones which
were equally an important part of my childhood. I began to notice table
settings and the effect they had on my memories of the event afterwards.
In the late 1980’s I worked in downtown Manhattan. I was also attending
college at night which left very little time for actual entertaining but lots
of time during my subway rides to think about it. Martha Stewart’s career
fascinated me then. I credit her for promoting “homemaking expertise” as
respectable even in the political feminist climate of the Reagan years. My
copy of her book Entertaining is treasured among the many books of its
type that I own. Its dogeared, splatter-stained pages evidence the frequent
use I give it. I devour cookbooks in the same way I read good novels.
I am a pretty experienced baker. There are challenges I avoid, however:
those involving pastry cream and whipped egg whites like in angel food
cakes. A perfect version of this cake bakes up tall, light and airy. I have
only made two in the last several decades, one was perfect but I did not
document what book I got the recipe from. I decided to bake one yesterday.
The result was such a visual failure that my spirits were deflated to the point
that I actually shed a few real tears. It was a lot of time invested, and many
eggs used up, not to mention the anxiety building in me as I saw the cake
fall in real time.
We are living tumultuous days in the entire world. Today is the anniversary
of the first Convention for Women’s Rights in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. It
took 72 years from then for white women in the United States to get to vote.
Our current world has lacked moral and smart candidates to lead us or we
have not done enough to vote for the ones that really care. My cake disaster
temporarily broke my spirit today but I will try again. These extraordinary
Covid-19 days call on all of us to show up again and again and I know that
we can do it. Stay indoors, wear a mask, wash hands often, do social distance.
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