I’ll huff and I’ll puff…

All bakers both amateur & professional can list their baking disasters. Having become very sensitive to words and their uses I now use the term “dodgy bakes”. This is my most recent dodgy bake.

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My attempt at two identical cheese & onion loaves was thwarted with the collapse of one of the cardboard cases. It reminded me of the fairy tale “The Three Little Pigs”. The walls of the cardboard case were not strong enough to hold up my loaf. The fan oven huffed and puffed and blew my loaf down. Both loaves tasted delicious but it was time to buy myself some stong metal tins. Any future loaves need a more stable base. (See the end of this post for the very easy recipe.)
Since Conor died I feel like I am living life wobbling on one leg. Life no longer has a stable base and it doesn’t take much for me to fall or get knocked down. Puffs of wind along with tornadoes can appear out of the blue. Sometimes they are forecast. It’s exhausting getting back up all the time but staying down is a scarier option. Grief has changed me and has taken far more from me than just my child. The old me was far better equiped to handle the stresses and strains of life. In my new life I struggle to make even the most basic decisions. I know that the worst can happen and I worry constantly. Every hospital visit to my sick parent and every wait in a waiting room takes me back to bad news day. My new life is filled with so much uncertainty and anxiety. I am thin skinned and sensitive to what is or is not said. I am easily overwhelmed. I wobble through each day trying to stay upright.

During moments of kindness from others I can find myself stable for a while. It is during these moments I am handed a crutch to steady myself and my new life seems manageable. Conor’s Daddy and I have experienced so much kindness in our new life. My amazing sister has created rituals for keeping Conor’s memory alive with her children and has raised funds in his name. Conor’s grandparents tend the grave, light candles, make weather proof stars and knit blankets for memory boxes. There’s a wonderful friend who regularly drops in with delicious dinners and another who gave up her apartment for my family last summer. We have friends and relatives who hand us a crutch every time they ask us how we are, take the time to listen to our answer and allow us to tell our story.  We’re handed a crutch every time someone acknowledges our son and uses his name. There is kindness in strangers too. I sobbed when our window cleaner asked me if I had the baby. After his initial shock he handed me a crutch when he asked our baby’s name and once again when he returned showing he wasn’t afraid of my tears. There was the woman on my baking course who asked me if I have any children. After being told I had a boy who died she went out of her way to talk to me for the week and she washed up my utensils. There are no words to fix what has happened. No one can take away our pain and there is no metal tin to hold us up. I hope that one day my second leg will touch the ground and I’ll feel more stable. Until then I will wobble on, I will pick myself up, I will keep baking and I will lean on any crutches that come my way.

Thank you all.

*Top tip:

This savoury bread is so easy to make and goes well with a salad or soup. It has a cake like consistency. I first made it while on a brilliant beginners baking course with The Baking Academy (check out http://www.bakingacademyireland.ie for courses). Here’s the recipe:
Plain flour 200g
Strong flour 200g
Salt 5g
Baking Powder 25g
Butter 30g
Grated cheese 160g
Chives/spring onions 30g
Buttermilk 300ml
1 x medium egg

There are very few stages;
1. Mix dry ingredients
2. Mix egg and buttermilk together
3. Mix egg/buttermilk with dry ingredients to make a soft dough.
4. Soft dough can be divided into 2 small loaf tins (1lb tins – use metal ones!) and bake for 35-40 mins at 210.

Enjoy.

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