2019: The Year of Kindness

Happy New Year!

Apologies for my absence. 2018 brought a slew of constant changes to my life, most positive, but all the changes have kept me very busy for about, oh, the entire year. As an example, I made these scones sometime in November, I think, and have yet to get around to writing about them. Which presents a problem since at this point I don’t remember a lot of the things that I would usually talk about (time, taste details, etc). I do remember that I made some changes to the recipe because I didn’t have all the ingredients, but for the life of me don’t remember what they were. So, needless to say, time has gotten the better of me and we won’t be getting a recipe review today.

I couldn’t just let these pictures go unpublished, however. What did I do to make them photograph so beautifully?! Was it egg wash or buttermilk? Did I use Hachiya or Fuyu persimmons? Dammit Kasey, take some fucking notes!

So instead of a review, today I will be boring you with my take-aways from my 2018 adventures in baking and life, and my 2019 New Year’s resolutions, sprinkled with some lovely pictures of mystery persimmon scones to keep it interesting.

So here are just a few things I learned from 2018:

People respond to passion/a good cover letter is worth it’s weight in megabyte gold. I have not been even a little bit qualified for any of the baking jobs I’ve gotten this year, but I was hired anyway because I poured my heart into my cover letter and let them know that what I lack in experience and education I make up for in pure, undiluted love of food. You gotta back it up though, which can be the hard part because…

You can be passionate about your work and still find it frustrating. I love working in the kitchen, and I live for those moments of creating something delicious and beautiful. But sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you burn yourself, or slip and land with your arm in the ice bucket (not that that has ever happened to me). Sometimes you overbake things, or can’t get the fucking lumps out of the goddamn peanut butter mousse. Sometimes you’re just plain uninspired, and tired of making the same damn cookies for the 10,000th time. I went home at the end of those days and wondered what the fuck I was doing. Why did I leave my cushy desk job where I had a chair, and never burned myself, and almost always got a lunch break to pound dough in a sweaty, smelly kitchen for 10-12 hours a day? But I went back the next day, even if somedays I didn’t want to, and always (eventually) found it again. The Reason. The This-Is-Why. Which is a good thing because if you’re selling yourself on passion, you better at the very least show up.

It’s ok to cheat in the kitchen. I’ve talked about this before, and I stand by it. If professional pastry chefs don’t have time to hand make every tiny little element in the dish, then you don’t have to either. Doing it all can be great sometimes and can yield some awesome, brag-able results, but there are days where you just want somthing hot and fresh but don’t want to spend your day on it and that’s ok too. Just don’t ever use canned frosting. That shit is gross.

You don’t always have to follow the recipe. Or have a recipe at all for that matter. Maybe you don’t think you’re ready, that your baking skills haven’t reached just-throw-it-together level yet, but I’m telling you to give it a try. It’s SO LIBERATING! Obviously, don’t go crazy and decide to wing-it on a chocolate souffle, start small with something you know. You’d be surprised how forgiving baking can be.

The serrated edge on the plastic wrap box is the most dangerous thing in the kitchen. Ask any kitchen worker, that shit is a hazard.

The best tool for the job is often your hands. Seriously, just wash your hands (for the love of god) and dig in.

And here are my resolutions for 2019:

Be Less Wasteful. One of the unfortunate side effects of working in commercial kitchens is it seems I no longer know how to cook in reasonable quantities. Every time I make dinner I end up making enough to feed 6 people. I always say we’ll eat it for lunch, but you try to remember to pack a lunch box at 5am! So the hubby and I have implemented a minimum of 2 days per week of leftovers for dinner. Bonus: that’s two less days that I have to make dinner. As much as I love cooking, it’s hard to spend all day in the kitchen then come home and do it again. Being less wasteful is about more than just food, however. I’m also trying to have a more minimal wardrobe (I can hear my mother laughing now). Believe it or not, I’ve been doing pretty well in that department. It helps that both my jobs now have a pretty casual dress code, and having 2 jobs also means no time to shop.

Keep the sourdough starter alive. This is the year! Came real close to failing on this one already, but managed to save it.

Most Importantly, Be Kinder to Yourself. I feel like this is something we could all be doing. There’s this wonderful movement happening amongst women right now where we are finally realizing that other women are not the enemy, that we should be lifting each other up, banding together, and heralding each other’s triumphs and successes not bringing each other down. I try to embrace and practice this in my life by supporting my female friends and letting them know that they’re awesome (because they are!), but I have failed in this movement in a way because I failed to recognize that I still saw myself as an enemy.

I failed to give myself the same level of support and encouragement that I try to give to others. I have always been a perfectionist and a do-all-the-things-ist. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I will absolutely continue to strive for that next level and push myself to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. But if I’ve learned anything from aerial silks, it’s that in order to get to where you want to go sometimes you have to give yourself a little slack and I noticed that the standards I hold myself to are (sometimes impossibly) higher than I would ever hold a friend to. If a friend gained 5 pounds, would I even notice? Probably not. I find myself all the time wishing I had some other girl’s figure when really, is it that different than my own? She also has a little bit of a belly, she has a little thigh jiggle, so why do I think it looks good on her but not on myself? Do I judge the people coming into my work to eat pies and drink lattes and other unhealthy foods? No. If they didn’t I’d be out of a job. When I go to a friend’s house, do I think they’re slobs for having a few items out of place, a few dishes in the sink? Absolutely not, so why do I stress when friends come over and I haven’t dusted the mantle?

There is no truer statement than “you are your own worst critic”. What does our internal bullying accomplish? Why are we so mean to ourselves?

So I’ve decided that for 2019, whenever I chastise myself and find myself stressing over something stupid, I’m going to ask myself “would I say this to a friend?” When I look at myself in the mirror and start to judge, I’m going to ask myself “if this body were on someone else, would you think these same thoughts?” Just as importantly, I’m going to give myself space. Space to not make dinner (yay leftovers!), space to be tired, space to not wear makeup today, space to be a little disorganized, space to age. Space to fail. Generally, just be kind to myself, for once. I think in this era of instagram perfection, we could all be a little kinder to ourselves.

End rant. See you (hopfully) soon.

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One Comment

  • Lindsay

    This is the most heartfelt, loveliest rant I’ve ever read. If this is how you rant, then rant on, girl. We all could use more of your rants. 😘

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