Thursday, March 22, 2012

Famous (Slice 22)

I've lived on my own, as an adult, independent from my mother (inasmuch as daughters ever are) for 6 years now, but some things still catch me off guard. One is that I am "famous" among my friends and community here for being a good baker and cook. Certain things--cinnamon rolls, snickerdoodles--are known as "mine" (use it in a sentence: "Those snickerdoodles from Hannaford were terrible--since I've had Chandra's, I can't eat any other kind.").

When I was growing up, even once I was a teenager and could, generally speaking, cook and bake without burning the house down or measuring out three cups of eggs, I still wasn't known for it, because my mother was the famous one. So it was more of a, "Oh, Chandra, you bake, too--just like your mom! How sweet!"

It's strange to take ownership of things that you know aren't really yours, but for all intents and purposes are. If I tell people here that these recipes are really my mother's, that I learned baking from the middle of a kitchen floor, gazing upward toward flour-covered counters and a whirring KitchenAid, they nod and say that's nice, but the snickerdoodles remain mine.

This is, perhaps, a silly little example, but it's a tile in the larger mosaic of us growing into real people, becoming our parents (despite our best efforts), and becoming an ever-changing identity. And it's strange how little things like cinnamon rolls are pieces of lasting identity, even when much else changes. I could lose 100 pounds, be brought into the witness protection program, become a lawyer, move to Thailand, learn to like math--but Christmas morning, you would still find me getting up early to roll out risen dough. And maybe by then, as I place cross-sectioned spirals in greased pans, I'll finally think of them as mine.


  1. What a lovely slice, Chandra. I've been thinking a lot about related things lately: how our parents are there at the core of our being in ways that are hard to even imagine when we're young. Still, I think that what you've become as a result of being your mother's daughter is revised, new, unique, just as you said: "becoming an every-changing identity."

  2. Chandra,
    What a beautiful post. I loved this line, "It's strange to take ownership of things that you know aren't really yours, but for all intents and purposes are." I always wonder if we are predisposed to these gifts or if we learn them. Either way, there is a point when they become our ways of being "famous."


  3. I liked the becoming identities line too -- and I also have the advantage of knowing where the three cups of eggs reference comes from! I've enjoyed catching up with your blogging, and I'm eager to read more when you get a chance to resume.