I used to bake every other day for Mommy, knowing she would come over for a snack or I would bring over the goodies to her. If it wasn’t brownies, a cake, then it was her favourite bread. Since she taught me how to cook and bake, she was also my staunchest critic, never hesitating to tell me that bread was too tough for her sensitive gums or that I put too much of something. The oven has remained cold except for an occasional batch of bread on the rare days when I have guests over.

If the oven could speak, it would probably ask why it has not been fired up for any recent activity. I miss the smell of baking cake or bread, that warm sensation that there is life in the house and people coming in and out. Something in the oven is always an indication of movement, dynamics, company. But I have lost all of that now and the oven remains cold. Baking for myself seems rather pointless and makes me feel even lonelier than ever, a cruel reminder that Mommy is no longer coming over to taste whatever is cooking.

The oven is cold and the nights are long.

Before Mommy died I had stocked up on baking ingredients to keep a steady supply of treats for her. I look at my cabinet not with disdain and despair, wondering how am I ever going to consume all of that. I can’t even bring myself to make pancakes anymore, her favourite breakfast. I woke up this morning with a craving for pancakes and scrambled eggs and made a mental note to myself to let Mommy know in a few minutes. I sat up in bed and placed my head in my hands, suddenly remembering there is no Mommy to call anymore.

All the recipes I have are for families of three or more. In my mind I know how to do the math and adjust the quantities for a smaller bread dough batch, but what’s the point? I baked to share and bring cheer, not to enhance the sorrow.

So the oven remains cold.

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