“A region of chaos and moonlight. She liked it there.” – Anaïs Nin
I was in the winter of my life when creating became my only saving summer. At night, I would drift to colours of pastries, textures of dough and combinations of sweet flavour. As it happened, and in my darkest hour, a conflict arose between the life that I was living and the life that I wanted to lead. Eyes wide shut, I walked in a game of shadows. And burdened with fevered dreams of what life could be like, I was forced to make a choice. So I chose to shed my past scarlet adorned skin and let it wash away.
I had to discover how to be again. So I baked, over-and-over again. Laughed, a lot, smiled, cried and re-learned how to live. I could glow once more and the stars grew illuminate with envy. And the darkness subsided, and light, once again, took it’s place.
Baking can do that. Creating can do that. It holds a therapeutic power like nothing else. It’s something that sustains my beating heat. Giving to others, giving to myself. The ability to bring joy and evoke feeling in another being. To feel the hot rush of love and chill of cold pain. To feel rich blood pumping through my veins. To feel intimate human connection. It makes me feel alive, something like a breath of fresh freedom.
It takes losing everything to know what you really have to live for. And I am thankful for what I have become. And the path of life that I now choose to surrender too. I accept and embrace the dark, rather than try to fight against it. Because there’s a beauty in brokenness, in imperfection. Kind of like a forest fire, filled with dangerous beauty and impetuous passionate rage. And when I cannot feel the sun, I know it’s temporarily shrouded behind the clouds. And they too shall pass, and once again, I can feel the warmth.
It wasn’t always meant to be this way, french and me. I don’t know how this love affair started. I wasn’t from the culture, I wasn’t introduced to it, nor could I understand it. Perhaps in a past identity, the melodies of my life were filled with kaleidoscopic parisian sunsets, champagne breakfasts and clair de lune tunes at dusk. It could be a slightly romanticised version of the world, but I choose to live the dream. I always have. And incredible dream. One I don’t want to wake up from, yet.
I’ve moved on significantly from when I first started butter and brioche. But still, all things french still permeate throughout my life. I hum along to joe le taxi and and read histoire d’o, les fleurs du mal too. I let my door mat be imprinted with both Bonjour and Au Revoir and adorn my body in too much vintage Chanel that could almost ashame Coco. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, this life is yours to create after all.
My tastebuds are french too, and my baking is predominately inspired by the culture – though often with a slight twist. Included in the depths of these archives are a collection of recipes that tell the story of who I once was, who I am now, and who I hope to be. Sweet memories that weave tales of truth, of happiness, of love. These recipes healed me. They allowed me to feel something once more. And I’m sure that they’ll evoke some sense of feeling in you too.
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