I made my first cake when I was nine years old. I remember excitedly studying the browning pages of my mom's old cookbook searching for a recipe easy enough for me to make from scratch. It was a yellow cake. And I made it all by myself. As soon as daddy got home, I gave him a big piece, carefully cutting around the slightly burnt edge. He told me it was delicious, and I smiled at him, so joyful.
That joy was addictive. Soon enough, the things I made actually were delicious, and the recipients of them became more and more wholeheartedly appreciative. There were minor mishaps along the way (one guest described my cake as "really crumby" [to his credit, I'm sure it was quite dry] and I most certainly heard "crummy". He hurriedly corrected himself, and we both laughed about it), but my love for baking and serving has grown year by year since that time.
Two weeks ago, I created a facebook page entitled "Lydia's Bakery". I set up an email account. I told all my friends. I began working on a menu. All my spare thinking time since then has been swarmed with brainstorms of domain names, websites, buying and selling, branding, marketing, polishing, developing new skills. Last night, I found myself in the midst of the following:
I had intended to make this cake for work weeks ago. And while the concept was a bit of a crazy one and the labor required was a bit more strenuous than average, the experience was morphed into one of anxiety instead of pleasantness because Lydia's Bakery loomed over it. I have to be able to make things that are good enough to sell. This has to be perfect. How in the world will I compete with the professionals? How much is this really worth?
Ironicaly, Lydia's Bakery took the soothing, therapeutic joy out of Lydia's baking. While I am not quite ready to trash the whole endeavor (though perhaps I may lay low for a while), I do desperately need to remind myself of the reason I bake. It is because, a decade and and a half after my First Fateful Lopsided Creation, I still have the same joy when I bring my coworkers something like this:
Baking is a hobby, it's a haven, it's a part of my life that is not work. And I am determined to keep it that way.