The Peace of Baked Things... A Poem, Plus Bonus Muffin Recipe

3283331121_2ecd8d73c9_z What do you do when you're discouraged about the state of the world?

I bake muffins. And jot poems.

With apologies to Wendell Berry's poem The Peace of Wild Things:

The Peace of Baked Things

When despair for the world grows in me and I can't sleep at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I creep down to the kitchen, socks on cold wood. A clatter of bowls, hiss of spray on pans, and a pillow of flour. Leavening a perfect mound, whiter than white. Follow directions and all will be well.

Now the liquid: thick buttermilk; melted butter, a risen sun grinning wickedly from its bowl; and an egg--the cracked one, from when my son fumbled the carton. I whisk, wincing at the memory of his frustrated tears.

Then a pause over the two bowls. Master over this one thing, I can suspend time indefinitely, stop the culinary combustion for as long as I wish.

But such sovereignty is foolish. The mess is meant to be mixed, folded, scooped, baked, and warmed-- for the teen who wakes herself before dawn, the long-haired girl with the cat-ear headband, the boy who broke the eggs.


Brown Sugar Butter Pecan Muffins (or loaf)

adapted from Real Easy Recipes

INGREDIENTS 2-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup light brown sugar, packed 1 egg, beaten 1 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons melted butter 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; blend in brown sugar. Combine egg, buttermilk, and butter; add to flour mixture, stirring to blend well. Stir in chopped nuts.
  2. Scoop batter into 12 greased muffin tins (or a greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (45 to 50 minutes for loaf) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


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Photo Credit: "baking" by Ballookey Klugeypop, Flickr, creative commons license.