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My hands are sore, but

My hands are sore, but the bread is yummy in my tummy. I can't even describe how satisfying it is to have baked a yummy loaf of bread all by myself (okay, with adult supervision in the form of someone reading the cook book out loud to me occasionally), then cut the fresh loaf, slathered it with butter, and made a cheese sandwich. So incredibly satisfying.

I have no idea why I'm ashamed of this.

I don't know about other women, but I feel a great deal of pressure not to like the domestic arts. To be very depreciative of my cooking skills, to pretend I don't know how to make a cake from scratch or that I don't have a set of favorite dinner recipes that I can and do whip out on a regular basis. I know how to effectively cut onions and peel tomatoes, but given the choice to talk about anything culinary, and I'll bring up how much Ichiban I've eaten this month. I'll be the first one to say I can't cook, even to people who have lived with me, eaten my tomato sauce and rhubarb pie, and I'll hush them up quickly if they try to tell anyone that I can, in fact, cook.

I don't know where this idea of hiding what is a very useful skill comes from. I think it's that I still feel like a fraud in the kitchen. Left on my own, I will eat an awful lot of Ichiban noodles. I really only bother cooking nice full meals for other people, never just for myself. And there's the part of me that insists that if I want a Career and Education and All That Stuff, I can't be good in the kitchen. In my mind, people who are good in the kitchen are trapped there, spending all day slaving over a hot stove to make barely-appreciated meals.

Now, granted, some of this is true. This bread that I'm rhapsodizing over took all day to make, and was actually started at 10:30 p.m. the night before I got to eat it at 6:30 p.m. It's a recipe that calls for a lot of 2 hour periods of rising bread. But I certainly wasn't trapped in the kitchen. I went out to lunch, I surfed the web, I napped, I had a shower, I did all sorts of things between playing with the dough. And the finished product was definitely something that was appreciated by those who got to eat it. Heck, the smell alone was appreciated. There's nothing quite like the smell of bread fresh from the oven.

I guess it's time for me to stop pretending I can't cook.

So: My name is Anna, and I like to bake fresh bread when I have a day off, make a mean tomato sauce from scratch, and still have people mention longingly in emails how much they wish I'd make them a rhubarb pie that I haven't made in 2 years.

I have just received a recipe book with 150 bread recipes in it. I can cross the first one off my list. Only 149 to go...


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