What do you do when you’re discouraged about the state of the world?
I bake muffins. And jot poems.
With apologies to Wendell Berry’s poem The Peace of Wild Things:
The Peace of Baked Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I can’t sleep at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I creep down to the kitchen, socks on cold wood.
A clatter of bowls, hiss of spray on pans,
and a pillow of flour.
Leavening a perfect mound, whiter than white.
Follow directions and all will be well.
Now the liquid: thick buttermilk;
melted butter, a risen sun grinning wickedly from its bowl;
and an egg–the cracked one, from when my son fumbled the carton.
I whisk, wincing at the memory of his frustrated tears.
Then a pause over the two bowls.
Master over this one thing, I can suspend time indefinitely,
stop the culinary combustion for as long as I wish.
But such sovereignty is foolish.
The mess is meant to be mixed,
folded, scooped, baked,
for the teen who wakes herself before dawn,
the long-haired girl with the cat-ear headband,
the boy who broke the eggs.
Brown Sugar Butter Pecan Muffins (or loaf)
adapted from Real Easy Recipes
2-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; blend in brown sugar.
Combine egg, buttermilk, and butter; add to flour mixture, stirring to blend well. Stir in chopped nuts.
- Scoop batter into 12 greased muffin tins (or a greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (45 to 50 minutes for loaf) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.