Itching to get out to the oven |

Itching to get out to the oven

Out There
Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Physically, I’m sitting at my desk right now. But in my mind, I’m measuring out flour, beating butter and stirring melted chocolate. Baking is solace for me, and I’m already biting my lip in anticipation of Mountain Fair’s pie and cake competitions.

This week, as I spoke to people about Mountain Fair, they all seemed to have a twinkle in their eyes. It didn’t matter if they were talking about this evening’s drum circle or the Tibetan monks who will be blessing the festivities ” everyone sounded truly excited. It rubbed off on me, and now I can’t wait to see what this thing is all about. I’m imagining gentle people with flowers in their hair.

And a total baking smack-down, too. There are very few things that grab my attention as much as whipping up cakes and tortes and brownies. In my normal, everyday life, there are times when I slack off or don’t follow through with things. But never when it comes to the oven. I like paying complete attention to a recipe and experimenting with high altitude adjustments. I dig the push-pull of finding just the right mixture of sweet and sour in a fruit pie. When it comes to chocolate cake, I’m all about practicing the art of gooey, fudgy under-baking.

All this is meditation for me.

The last 10 years or so are filled with baking memories. Back when I was fresh out of college, I made cookies for all my neighbors. Considering that I was living in Portland, Ore., it was pretty naive on my part, but people were pleasantly taken aback. When I was 20 or so, I did a surprise birthday cake for my boyfriend at the time. This was a guy I had never seen cry, but he actually got a little misty eyed as I lit his candles and sang. A few weeks ago, I created dozens of cupcakes for my friend’s birthday party. She seemed touched. It’s nice that be reminded that doing something you love can matter.

When it comes to a piece of writing, “good” is subjective. But not with a piece of cake. Although I don’t have a very competitive streak in my being, I’m hankering to enter these contests. I want do something real-world, something hands-on ” regardless of whether I ace those baking bouts or not.

But enough writing. I really just want to be at the oven.

Editor’s note: The judging for the pie contest begins at 11 a.m. Saturday (the categories are traditional, cream and exotic). The cake contest is at 11 a.m. Sunday (with cakes, tortes and exotics as categories). Confections should turned in by 10:45 a.m. each day.

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