Dear Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to the February 2022 issue of Betterbaking.com.
How are you doing in the almost-two-year-anniversary of the pandemic? Check off if you’re in: Denial (on repeat), Anger (off-and-on and with an oscillating focus of your anger), Sadness (or simply too numb) or Acceptance (either the joyful, mature sort or the resignation sort). I’m in the happy, accept-it-all Groundhog Day moment. I’m very familiar with that one because if you’ve ever done at least a decade of car pool for a load of kids (some yours, some random ones another parent told you to pick up) for pre-dawn, pre-school activities, you’re well-acquainted with this stage. In other words, I’m content albeit I just don’t know or care what time or season it is. I mean, I loosely know but it’s essentially a blur. As a writer, weekends versus week days or time in general as a concept, have always been a foggy concept for me.
On this end, my Wellness course is coming together and since it’s online it’s open to anyone, anywhere as long as you have Zoom installed. When I have more details on the event price and attendance limits, I’ll let you know. My quartet of book clubs are going well and a true highlight was two weeks ago when I invited the author of our book to join us on Zoom. Janet Skeslien Charles who wrote The Paris Library was such a great guest! She came prepared with extra photos and stories behind her beautiful book and was most generous with her time and Q&A. Having the originator of a creative work attend in person adds a special aura that’s indescribable. Was she appreciated? Was she ever! At the end, book club attendees stood up on their end of Zoom and applauded and cheered.
I almost forgot but of course I didn’t! February isn’t just about Groundhog Day – it’s about Valentine’s Day! To be honest, I had a whole different issue lined up for this month. It was mostly rustic baking I’ve been working on that I thought you’d also like. Then I remembered it’s Valentine’s Day month and that means – sweets for the sweet, decadence and yes, chocolate. So I’ve put together my favourite Red Velvet recipes for you and yours.
Sometimes I look back at a previous year or two of my newsletters to see what I was thinking of at that same time but a year or two past. Here’s what I found for last Valentine’s Day issue:
The cast of characters in your love life, save a few (like cherished chosen family and friends) may come and go but authentic Love’s expression never wavers with social trends. Love itself, like nuclear energy which can change its state but never quite disappear, stays it course. That’s what I love about love. It marches to its own drummer and scoffs at all things hashtag-able. Like a stubborn sourdough starter, Love hangs in. In this brave new world of late, with so few things to be sure of there’s still baking and love and of course, there’s still Valentine’s Day.
For February 2022, I could say something like this again but I think that paragraph still stands the test of 365 days later. The only caveat I would add is that a year later, I’m only more convinced that true friendship, which falls under the banner of love, stands the test of time but also the test of this pandemic.
It seems that everything that has seasonality or an inherently weaker thread in it, doesn’t quite bear up under the scrutiny of undue stress. Maybe things would have unrolled the same way in my pre pandemic life but I notice a shift in my friendships. I have my stalwart circle but there are a few that are MIL but to be honest, those are the ones which teetered in the best of times. I knew they were founded with fault lines and if I ever leaned too hard, the fault lines were split. To quote Joni Mitchell, ‘Something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day”.
here’s been a bit of space where those friends wandered away (or maybe it was me) and now there are fresh friends I’m getting to know along with the old faithful. This friendship thing, this love thing, and this life thing – it’s a constant breathing in and breathing out – if only we could accept its inevitable flow and trust it.
So my dear hearts, I trust this finds you well and in a loving space or quiet faith. February is short so savour it.
Happy Valentine’s Day from my heart to yours,
Master Baker, Author
Est. 1997- 2022
Celebrating Our Silver Anniversary!