True Self/False Self and the Problem of Baking

(yet another blog that sort of picks up on the theme of true self/false self)
My kids have spent vacation week doing a camp called the Possibilities Factory. They’re trying to raise $500 for Japan tsunami relief and send 500 letters to kids in Japan by 5 p.m. TODAY.
Yesterday, I showed up as my kids were volunteering baked goods for the bake sale.  They wanted to bake:
·      chocolate chip cookies
·      sugar cookies
·      lemon squares
·      AND have me bake 3 loaves of banana bread.
And it was already 4 p.m.  
I vetoed the cookies, pointing out that banana bread alone takes an hour to bake.  “I don’t want to spend my night waiting for things to bake when I’m sleepy and want to go to bed.” 
But when we got home, Kai wanted to make cupcakes with the pineapple cake mix that I bought by accident for her birthday party (thought I had grabbed chocolate) and I gave in because when else will we make pineapple cake? 
I stayed cool as I was peppered with questions like:
·      What lemon square recipe should I use?  
·      How do I fit parchment paper in the pans?
·      The food processor won’t process the double recipe of shortbread! (because you’re not supposed to double a recipe in a food processor)
·      What do I do with the lumps of frozen butter that remain? (You’re not supposed to use frozen butter–just smoosh it into the dough)
I even suggested making cream cheese frosting AND found cream cheese in the back of the fridge for the pineapple cupcakes since the picture on the box shows pineapple upside down cake but doesn’t include any pineapple or instructions for how to make pineapple upside down cake.
Then Kai said we ran out of eggs and whole milk.  So I ran to the store and even picked up pineapple so the pineapple cupcakes would look more authentic.
Then I made dinner, squeezing between quarreling kids who argued about:
·      Who got to open the pineapple can (a BIG argument—don’t ask me why)
·      How to cut maraschino cherries
·      Who got to decorate the cupcakes
·      How to decorate the cupcakes
·      The injustices around number of cupcakes any child got to decorate and quality of what each child produced.
It was 8:30 by the time I began banana bread.  My prediction happened—I was exhausted, my kitchen was a wreck, and I was going to have to bake.
And then I found that both brown sugars had never been tied up so they were rock hard and impossible to soften.  At that point, I lost it.  Forget my Lenten criticism fast—I was mad and tired and sick of providing all sorts of staples for folks to bake with when they don’t bother to tie up brown sugar so it’ll be usable when I don’t want to bake, but HAVE TO BAKE!!
imagine the words coming out of my mouth
Kai knew I had reached the end of my rope as she meekly asked what she could do to help and willingly cleaned up as much as she could.
So on this Good Friday I’m asking myself some questions:
·      Where was my true self in this debacle?
·      Who was my true self?  (Maybe the one with feelings and needs more than anger?)
·      What’s the relationship between criticism and control?
·      What false self perfectionist performance orientation led me to use the latest Cook’s Illustrated recipe where you literally need to microwave and dejuice bananas then simmer banana juice until it concentrates to make the most bananaey bread possible? 
·      Who’s going to clean my kitchen?
I’d attach a banana bread recipe, but on this Good Friday, remembering Jesus’s death on a cross so I don’t have to prove myself, I’ll just wish you peace, with or without the baking. 

About Kathy Tuan-MacLean

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