Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11

I may have mentioned this before, but my life is a little different now than it used to be...

Especially at this time of year, I am acutely aware of what I can and cannot do.

This is the upper right corner of my pantry. (Yes, I have a pantry. It's full of chocolate chips and cold cereal - not actual "food storage", I know, but whatever - and cookie cutters.)

That's right. Cookie cutters.

I have, easily, 300 cookie cutters.

I used to make sugar cookies. All the time, really, but especially during holidays. (I have every letter in the alphabet, every number, every animal known to man, every flower, and every Easter, Hallloween or Christmas cutter you could think of. You name it, I own it.)

I don't make sugar cookies anymore. It's too hard to stand up, bent half over, to roll the dough and cut them. I can't bake the cookies without doing serious damage to my back... let alone the frosting and decorating of them.

No more sugar cookies.

It's kind of heartbreaking, really. I haven't made sugar cookies in December for two years now. (I almost killed myself, trying, the Christmas after my first surgery. Never again.)

I don't make bread (or rolls) anymore, either. I don't have the strength to knead the dough, and as much as I  do love my apple red Kitchen Aid, it doesn't knead the dough well enough on its own to make me happy with the end result.

The last time I made bread was the weekend before I found out that my cancer was back. ... For the first time. ... By the time I'd eaten that batch of bread, I was going in for my second surgery, and my stomach and back haven't been the same since.

Now, I'm not complaining or looking for sympathy. There are a heck of a lot of things that I can do that I couldn't do a few months ago, and I'm very, very aware that I lead a charmed and blessed life. (I mean, really. I heart being an American, where it's totally okay to eat mac 'n cheese (from the blue box) or cereal for dinner. Multiple times a week.) I just want to document what I can and cannot do, and when I looked up in my pantry and saw the cookie cutters, I realized that I haven't ever written about how much I miss baking/cooking.

Not that I don't cook at all anymore. I do. A little bit...

I can still make fudge. (I have to stand for 20 minutes for a batch of fudge. That's doable.) I can still make drop cookies, like ginger snaps. (I just have to freeze half the batch, because I can't bend over as many times as I'd need to in order to bake the full recipe at one time.) I can still bake a cake. (I can't really decorate them anymore, but I have become Queen of the Bundt Cake, so that's okay.) I can, obviously, still stir mac n' cheese. I have a deep and abiding love for Shredded Wheat, and feel that it makes the best breakfast/lunch/dinner of all time.

Do I miss baking and decorating sugar cookies? I sure do. It was a lot of fun, for a lot of years, and I loved every minute of it. But now, it hurts my body, so I don't do it anymore. And that's okay. ... Maybe next year. Or in 2018 or something. ... Until then, I'll buy expensive bakery bread that reminds me of homemade and I'll live on instant Kraft and Nabisco food products. (Oh, and maybe I'll eat an apple or an orange every once in a while, to appease all the mothering types who worry about me having a balanced diet.)