When I was 14, Mom tried to get me to learn to bake bread. I hated cooking, I hated homemaking, and if my parents wanted me to do anything, I generally hated whatever it was just on principle. (I resisted)
My dad was in the bishopric at that time, and spoke to the bishop about having me called as the ward sacrament baker. Bishop did extend that calling, and I was furious. I must have been a real darling to live with for a few weeks. My dad was such a jerk, that was so unfair, boy was I mad at him. (those of you without the blessing of puberty in your homes may have to use your imaginations on how sweet the age 14 can be)
I baked wonderful bread for the ward. I was so mad every Saturday when I kneaded that stupid bread, I about kneaded it to death. Well, really good kneading is what good bread takes! I'd bake it, then after it cooled I'd cut all the crust off, slice my bread and bag it up. Mother would make roast beef and gravy, and on Sunday we'd have bread crust with brown gravy over it. I began to enjoy the crust and gravy, and noticed that the family enjoyed it too.
I took some secret pride in the bread I was making, secret I say because to let on to Dad would be to give the man some victory. (I spent my whole youth being careful never to let him win if I could help it) When the deacons skipped Sunday School to sneak into the sacrament prep room and eat all the sacrament bread, I was very flattered! (I think the bishopric had to speed to the Circle K for more) The other kids noticed the good bread and it gave me some small status with the very mature older kids, who never gave me the time of day because they were so magically mature! (I could hardly wait to be that old)
As a young mother I needed desperately to paint and express myself creatively. With a zillion kids trying to help, painting was a joke. I felt I was getting lost to all of those wonderful little people. We were also pretty broke those years, and couldn't afford storebought bread. I began to bake again. As I read, and experimented and began to really understand my new art Tom got involved and built me an adobe oven so that I could replicate European artisan breads. That oven and that bread saved my sanity. I loved my dad for seeing that I learned to bake bread. I still do!
Every Saturday I'd bake the bread I needed for the coming week. After the baking was done, I'd line all the breads out on my table and just watch them cool off. To see the rustic breads, the sophisticated breads, the golden loaves full of nutrition (24 of them) for my family all in rows fed some thing needy inside my spirit. The scriptures about bread are still some of my favorites.
Here is what I learned. Don't laugh. When you make food for your loved ones with your own hands, with a desire to feed and nourish them, using the best ingredients you can afford the Lord blesses it and makes it into an offering for them which, I believe, has more nutrition temporally and passes on the love you feel for them, increasing the bonds between their hearts and yours. I love to bake bread. I love to pass it to others warm and fresh. I love to smell it, feel it and taste it. It is an expression of myself, and a heart offering to others. Especially my dad.