Wednesday, 16 December 2015

I Need Help

I've been doing a bit of Christmas baking lately. It's the usual suspects; Shortbread Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Mince Tarts. I have the ingredients for Rum Balls but haven't made them yet. I have other ingredients for future possibilities, as yet undetermined. They sit in the Safeway basket on my table, awaiting my decision on what to make and when to make it.

I do all my baking by hand; I don't own a blender of any sort. If the dough needs to be worked, I work it by hand. When ingredients need to be blended, I get a mixing spoon and I mix. The only small appliance I have for baking is a small hand blender, the kind that has interchangeable ends. I use it primarily for whipping cream. That's a job just too difficult for hand work.

All of this hand blending and dough working is difficult for my hands and arms. I can get things started, but usually after a few minutes I weaken to the point where I cannot go further. If I am by myself, I simply put the bowl down and leave it for 10 or 15 minutes. Then, once I have regained the strength in my arms, I start again. Fortunately Katherine is with me most of the time, and she becomes my extra set of arms.

Last night was a great example of this. I wanted to make Shortbread dough so that my daughter, Kate, and her friend Margaret, can make Shortbread Cookies when they come for dinner tonight. It's a lot of work to cut in the butter, especially when it is a bit hard, still cool from the fridge. I got things started with my pastry cutter, but after a few minutes I had to stop. Katherine stepped in and finished making the dough, doing a great job of blending and folding. Between the two of us, we had that dough punched into shape in no time.

I can still bake. I can still cook. I can still mix and blend. It's just a bit more difficult these days. I tire easily. I need help. Would I do it without Katherine? I don't know. Maybe. But it would sure be a lot tougher. Help is a wonderful thing.

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