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A Note from Marcy

The New Bonus Recipes for January:

Senate Bean Soup !!!!Bonus !!!!Free for all

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Marble Bundt Cake
Best Ever Buttermilk Crisped Onion Rings
Corn and Blueberry Scone Farm Cake
Best Ever Chicken Soup and Matzoh Balls
Old Fashioned English Muffins
Best Ever Chicken Soup and Matzoh Balls

The Regular January 2005 Issue
Cream Puff Cake !!! Free Recipe !!! Cream Puffs are the official hot trend of 2005 (Unofficially it is cupcakes) this is a glamorous spin on the French classic.
Davids Butterscotch Chocolate Chunk Cookies By Marcy (Almost) Mrs. Field, Famous Amos and then came David…..and how I started my  career in baking….
  It’s good as a coffee flavor; it’s great as a crunchy cookie
 A little tarot, a little iridology and a bit of whole-wheat common sense.
A spin on popular yeasted cinnamon buns
Sunday Supper White Bread Yes, there was a time we all sat and ate at the table. At the same time. A perfectly lovely bread.
H&H Style New York Bagels I love New York indeed. Say it with a not-so-complex carb. Add flax seed to taste. A post holiday weekend thing to do.
Underground Baker's Secret Carrot Cake Recipe Classic 80’s Carrot Cake California style health food cafes made this a classic. Good tastes endure.
Old Fashioned, Fragrant, Homey, Banana Bread 70’s Banana Walnut Bread Was this your first recipe too? Still amazing after all these years
Double Chocolate Sour Cream Mall Muffins Mall Sized Double Chocolate Sour Cream Muffins, remember when a muffin fed a family of six for a week? These days, better to share one but oh, size matters in muffins.
Grainy, fruity, chewy, good stuff

A Note From Marcy
January 2005

It’s A Whole New Era of Baking Issue

The art of change and making space…..

A new year and a new you, yada, yada, yada. Change is good or so they say. Despite my cowboy reputation in baking, I, for one, resist change. I change only under duress and even then, I am rather miserable at it. I am like Jiggs, my dad’s big old cat. My dad’s family, for whatever reason,  often attempted to relocate Jiggs. They would bundle him up in a burlap bag, balking and skittish, and off he went with the milkman, to be driven to a family clear on the other side of town. A day later, Jiggs would be at the door, apparently, somewhat famished but otherwise bearing no grudge. The cat always came back the very next day. I’m like Jiggs: always trying to get back to home base even when I outgrow it. So, it was a surprise to me recently, when on the eve of January lst, I checked out my journal at the same time, but a year before. There, in the pages, were reams and reams of writing pertaining to this or that, mostly whining about Atkins and doubts about a baking/writing future, friends and work that had come and gone, and the boys growing up. Heck, by April 2004, I had reckoned they were so mature that all three were on the verge of eloping. There were also the usual myriad of worries, perhaps a bit more than usual, and legitimate and yet, I realized, many of which, I had solved. 

In those pages, I could not help but notice that change was on the way and between the lines, and anyone would have noted a thematic resistance. What energy I wasted!  I could not help but smile kindly when I saw, by July ’04 or so, I had stopped protesting the inevitable. The journal writing seemed to emit a big sigh, which in turn, gave way to an open view of the new regime that had not yet quite solidified. Change you know, is like that. It is a sketch, not a blueprint. You outgrow one blueprint of your life and it dissolves into another. You’re there before you know it, like it or not – fussing and kicking or not. Would that we could use our creative energy in navigating a transformation rather than walling ourselves against it.

At any rate, somewhere in those passing months and journal pages, I had to concede that baking was retreating a bit and what I did for a living had lost much of its moorings and sense. But, I still loved baking. I might have to switch career gears but I did not need trends to allow me to still bake and still adore it. As for the writing path, I did not need a publisher to believe in me nor allow me to write. As for the boys, they were indeed, growing but not quite on their way out into the wide world the very next minute. One minute they were men; the next they were squabbling over who finished the Cape Cod chips or lost the remote. Some change happened, some changes I worried about simply evolved differently than I had forecasted. I had stopped looking up and had started to stay still.

I could see in those pages, that the things I thought would never alter, did, and in many cases, positively so. In fact, whining all the while, I had nonetheless slain many dragons, and found the courage to court new horizons. More? I found a softer way to welcome disappointments rather than forge a war against the tides of life. I saw that the changes in the wind that I fought so hard against came anyway. Once I stopped my visceral response (keep the status quo), a natural, organic evolution occurred.

By September, clearly I had come to a new place and emerged like a timid but brave new butterfly into a world not quite the same as the one I had clung too, but gently altered. Somewhere on the path of acceptance or resignation, the world had also begun to welcome baking back. I checked outside. I had made it through the night.  By the time the dawn had come, I had made peace with it. Seeing the shifts now, I cannot help but feel all the more ready to celebrate. Whether trends made me current or passé, I had found my own center again even as my periphery had been re-faceted.

Change, like moods, is a part of life. In fact, change is to growth what dialogue is in literature: without either, there is simply no movement. Yet, we try so hard to anchor to what we know. Even unpleasantness, if familiar, is something we cling to. But change, much like our moods and the New England weather, come and go. If you do not like a mood, or fear a change –take heart. Soon enough it will come and go and you will step up to the plate of the new era as if it was the way it always was.  As hard as it is to embrace transition, it offers more gravity and more certainly than any sort of pretence of solid ground.

These days, when I know some era, personal, psychic, or professional is its showing antiquated edges, I try to be more attentive. If 2004 has taught me anything; it is if that I let go, it will be alright. I do not know where or how I will end up but I will be fine. A new version of fine, sure, but fine. It is the original string theory you know – somewhere in all that space, created simply by letting go and releasing energy, are invisible tethers that have a tensile strength and navigational rightness. They will take you to where you have to go.

There are other ways to make space and welcome change like a guest rather than a telemarketer. You need let go and dust off what’s left. Once you do that (clear up a drawer, tidy a pantry, a fridge, dust off a friendship, renew another, recommit to your craft or calling) there is only more of precious space.

Space by itself can be uniquely disquieting, even uncomfortable. But wait. Nature hates a vacuum. If you give it time, something will fill up that space. Like, you find they are out of your favorite vanilla and you see almond extract and discover a new edge to your grandma’s cookie recipe. You never would have known without being nudged to. The absence of the same old, same old –  will bring you to a new place.

A friend asked recently, so is this about being passive or pro-active? It is both.

Have faith in the space. It is both a beacon and a welcome mat for new things.

Incidentally, this doesn’t happen immediately and that is when it pays to remember that to the recipe of change, one must add a few tablespoons of time, to all those cups of space. Agreed, sometimes, that quick downshift and reverse motion creates more of a void, than a space. But no matter. Live with it a bit – like a new house or apartment – otherwise you will decorate the new place with old things. Live with bare walls, a pared down pantry, emptied drawers, skimpier wardrobes, and a narrower, but purer field of relationships. You do not need much but whatever you hold on to, it has to be good, authentic, and real. It’s a long trip.

If there is a grace to transition it is all about physics and design, space and new energy.  Architects get it, tango dancers live by it,  and the very shoreline of the world is based on it. Leave room for a new recipe of your own personal dimensions to unfold. Find or receive a few new ingredients. Make it. Shake gently. Stir briefly. Bake.

Who knows what will come out of the oven?

Maybe something new.

Maybe something even better……

Happy 2005 to everyone.
Wishing you a brand new start and as always, happy baking,

Marcy Goldman
Host and Editor

Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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