I have discovered my new favorite cookbook author: Nigella Lawson. If you ever want to get in a mood to bake a cake or bread or something else domestic, you have to read How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. Here is an excerpt from the preface:
I neither want to confine you to the kitchen nor even suggest that it might be desirable. But I do think that many of us have become alienated from the domestic sphere, and that it can actually make us feel better to claim back some of that space, make it comforting rather than frightening. In a way, baking stands both as a useful metaphor for the familial warmth of the kitchen we fondly imagine used to exist, and as a way of reclaiming our lost Eden. This is hardly a culinary matter, of course; but cooking, we know, has a way of cutting through things, and to things, which have nothing to do with the kitchen.
The trouble with much modern cooking is not that the food it produces isn't good, but that the mood it induces in the cook is one of skin-of-the-teeth efficiency, all briskness and little pleasure. Sometimes that's the best we can manage, but at other times we don't want to feel like a postmodern, postfeminist, overstretched woman but, rather, a domestic goddess, trailing nutmeggy fumes of baking pie in our langorous wake.
Doesn't that just make you want to run in the kitchen and start mixing? It certainly did me--and reading the rest of the book was just as great. Unfortunately I don't have much of a kitchen to run to. The 30 plus year old hand mixer left for us doesn't even work, and I have 1 mixing bowl to work with. Alas, I will have to put off my domestic endeavors until we are living in our new house. But I still love imagining that I am, instead of a bored and boring mother stuck in a hotel room, a domestic goddess.