Many of you may not know this, but I love to cook.
My passion for cooking started when I was a little girl.
Every other morning, nana would march into the kitchen, don her apron, and take out the ingredients to make bread.
Nana allowed me to observe as she carefully measured the flour, prepared the yeast, and kneaded the dough.
“Bella,” she would say, “I’m convinced heaven must smell like freshly baked bread.”
Unfortunately, my love for cooking instantly waned when I moved into my new home and saw how tiny the kitchen was.
No longer did I have spacious counters, powerful appliances, or a double sink.
Instead, I had a counter top large enough to hold a bowl, a single sink, and a small convection oven.
Nevertheless, there are days, special days, that prompt me to ignore my limited resources and bring out the mixing bowls and measuring cups.
Today was one of those days.
After spending three hours preparing our humble Easter feast, the Son said to me, “Mom, do you know what I’d love to eat?”
Praying he’d say a bowl of ice cream, I heard him whisper, “Lemon cake. A slice of lemon cake; like the one they sell in Starbucks.”
I felt my blood pressure rise as I thought how I’d just spent an hour washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen.
However, what mother can say no to her son when he makes a whispered petition and puppy dog eyes?
Out came the pots and pans, the ingredients, and a copycat recipe for Starbucks’ lemon cake.
I spent the next hour sifting cake flour, warming eggs in hot tap water, and grating the zest of four lemons.
As I painstakingly removed the flesh from the quartered lemon slices, I winced painfully as lemon juice squirted into my eye.
I hurriedly reached for a rag and accidentally knocked over the bowl of sifted flour.
Clamping my mouth shut to prevent a barrage of profanity from spilling out, I rummaged in the closet for the dustpan and a broom.
However, still partially blind, I tripped over the mixer cord and landed in the sea of flour I had spilt minutes before.
I got up slowly, dusted the flour from my clothes, and recited Psalm 23 out loud.
With newfound determination, I pulled out a fresh apron, cleaned the tiny counter, and started over.
As I carefully sifted the dry ingredients for the second time, I called out to the Son.
“What is it, mom?” I’m chatting with So and So!”
“And I may have lost forty percent of my vision. Come here!”
As he walked into the kitchen, I heard him say, “What the hell happened here?”
“Your wannabe Starbucks lemon cake happened in here. But forget about that and look at me.”
“Do I have to? You look like the Pillsbury Boy sneezed on you.”
“Yes. Yes, you do because I want you to make a memory. I want you to look at me as I prepare homemade lemon cake.”
I heard him laugh.
“That’s right. In ten years, when your wife is using boxed cake mix, or worse, serving you store bought cake, I want you to remember your mother’s lemon cake.”
“But I haven’t even tasted it!”
“That’s not the point. What’s important is that I took a lemon squirt in the eye that hurt more than giving birth to you.”
“Here we go.”
“Bup, bup, bup! I want to hear you say that never again will you look at lemon cake without remembering this moment.”
“How about, never again will you hear me ask that you to make lemon cake?”
“That works too. Now hand me a lemon.”
Happy Easter, everyone!