It’s a little ridiculous but I get angry thumbing through magazines and seeing the gorgeous photo spreads with biscuits and tarts and pastry, donuts and muffins, cakes and delectable scones just laying out there for everyone to see and pretend they have the skill to pull off. What angers me is not the lure of culinary perfection in a scone, it’s the flour content of the recipe.
The little “neener neener neener” of gluten.
I want to watch dough rising and smell sour dough baking. I want to pass down cinnamon roll recipes and pie crusts and the best blue berry muffin from my childhood to my daughter. I want the flour dust billowing, chalky little hands clapping while we cut out sugar cookies into our favorite shapes and bake them before Christmas.
I want flour on my jeans, in my hair, on the tip of my nose and I want it with my children.
What I didn’t realize of becoming an adult was that I wasn’t in line for a repeat of my childhood. I wouldn’t be cooking my new husband my family favorites because his family of origin had a different pallet. So we started our little family with a kitchen stocked full of the staples I needed in order to cook like my mother. Not his.
Having kids was always a freebie to resurrect some of my childhood favorites. A few things here or there to “take to the bank”. I won’t be passing down a family name to my kids, but I was proud to be able to pass down dutch butter cake, roll out sugar cookies, chicken enchiladas and numerous quick breads. The tell-tale signature of our home, I wanted to pass a little of where I came from to my kids – so they could carry a little of me to the ends of their earth as they left my kitchen and built their own.
Of course I still can. And I will. But all the muffins and cookies look different now, without gluten. I don’t have easy answers for them for why the dough is watery – when I used to be able to eyeball success based on chemistry that no longer applies.
I’m just mourning the end of an era, really. Maybe men feel this way when they birth all girls and have no brothers to pass down a family name. I believe it takes a moment of recognition. A little ritual in remembrance to carry on.
I haven’t dreamed of my children’s wedding days or what it might be like to be a Grandmother. I’ve dreamed of what it will feel like to sit at their table, no matter the number of chairs surrounding it, and be fed the food they took the time to remember I loved, with their own spin on what spices to use or how to prepare it. And I want to taste the legacy of our kitchen together.
In 20 years I don’t think I’ll care about gluten they way I do now. The comfort of the smell of yeast mingling with flour and sugar in a slow rise on Sunday mornings. What I didn’t know was that I was cooking and baking my memories, slowly weaving the tapestry of change into my children’s hearts as they watched me feed them with my mine.
And now we get to make our own list of favorites. First Generation, like an immigration to a new set of traditions.
I think I’m ready.