My Darling Girl,
Today you reached home and it was not long before you hid yourself behind closed doors. Again. Every time you do that, it jogs my memory to a time long ago when I would do the exact same thing. When life got too tough or messy, I ran away and hid. In sleep, the fictional lives and problems of literary characters or the incessant brooding of an overactive mind. Yet in all that time I desperately craved comfort, reassurance that things would get better, someone to trust my ability to deal with things along with a dose of sound, practical advice. But none of that happened because no one knew how I felt. I was well hidden, safe in the dubious company of massive amounts of highly processed junk food. In the bowls of chips and cakes and fizzy drinks I found solace that lasted only as long as the packet did.
It was in my early twenties that I discovered the therapeutic catharsis of patiently observing chocolate and butter melt together in a shiny, salty and heady concoction. I was introduced to the alchemical process that turned butter, eggs and flour into the deliciousness that chased my problems far, far away. In the kitchen I discovered a retreat for myself; a place where the voices fell silent, where the crush of emotions relaxed and the mind became occupied with the creation of something beautiful for its own sake. And as I measured, sieved, whisked and folded, I found the calmness to deal with life. As an introvert, those peaceful moments made a huge difference in perspective.
Among all the goodies I bake, the Nutella cake always stands out for me. You know the one I am talking about. One of the first cakes I baked on order, it was an easy yet decadent dish. Rich and flourless with the addictive flavours of chocolate and hazelnuts and topped with crunchy, bitter sweet caramelized hazelnuts, this has become my go-to problem solving cake.
Now dear girl, you cant bake or cook to save your life. And that's okay. Because I can. And as an introvert too, I can see that all you need is a moment to calm down and gather your thoughts together. So I am gonna share a little secret with you: I love sitting in the hall in the quiet hours of the afternoon, staring at the treetops, a piece of cake in my hand as I sort through the 50 issues demanding my attention.
And its something you can do too. Once you finish reading this letter, come downstairs and look in the fridge. There is a whole Nutella cake that I have baked just for you. Cut yourself a thick slice and settle down in your favorite spot. I have taken your brother out so that you can savour your cake, the silence and the solitude. Mommy loves you, dear and hopes this will help you come out of hiding and work through everything you are struggling with. Maybe we can make this one of our things; every month or so we can both sit by the window, a slice of cake in our hands as we savour the solitude, together...
Hoping to see your toothy smile again,
(P.S: We will be back by 7 o'clock. So take your time. Also this is a lovely soundtrack to unwind to.)