Saturday, January 8, 2011

the cake dish

I bought a cake dish last week. We were cooking for a dinner at a friend's house, and we had no place to put the tartine. My husband has been pestering me for a cake dish for a while now. We always have a pie or tart or focaccia that needs a cake dish. We often cook and take our creations over to other people's homes. We needed a cake dish.

I didn't want the cake dish. I love to cook and share. I love to see a pie neatly sitting in a cake dish. But I didn't want one. The reason? Well, a cake dish is big. A cake dish will not fit neatly into a box, much less my suitcase. A cake dish is another commitment. Another thing I must figure out what to do with someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I do not see my life expanding in possessions as I grow older. I have officially gotten off the consumption train, and I must admit that it feels good. I look around me and see so many people acquiring more and more, needing more and more, wanting more and more. People going to Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving (how on earth was the Friday after Thanksgiving, a day of humility and gratitude, transformed into a stampede of people at the stroke of midnight crashing into Walmart? Does anyone else see something inherently wrong there?). There is a surge around me of a vast accumulation of nothing. Accumulation of things to pay for, things to dust, things to be put away, organized and remembered. Things to protect and covet.

Our children will be leaving the nest in the next few years, and I am immensely grateful that I became a mother at a young age. I am just as grateful that my husband's view of the future is once again aligned with my own. I want to work less, paint more, cook more, laugh more. I want to get my Master's Degree. Maybe a Doctorate after that. I want to wander the Uffizi as many times as I can before I die. I want to go back to Nepal and find the humble family who gave us a room in their home when I sprained my ankle, and bring them another piece of real Parmigiano. I want to live in ordered places absent of piles of stuff collecting dust, with only my most precious belongings, like my grandmother's paintings and quilts. I want to have a view from every window, unfettered and open. I want to feel free of the crazy machine of consumption that is the driving force behind the road to nowhere.

I do not want to leave an ever expanding footprint on the world, with mountains of things that are supposed to make me happy, but which in truth only make me a slave. I want a life I can fit into a frame, like a painting, reflecting myself and nothing else.

There just isn't room for the cake dish... I will have to share it with someone else, another lesson in living.


G in Berlin said...

Having children later in my life, I am in a place of trying to keep accumulation down as much as possible. Instead of acquisitions, the problem is handling creations. But then I remember that Picasso made 50,000 pieces and he must have had the same issue:-). One of the things I do, as we downsize our living space but increased the number of people in it, was to try to remove things as much as possible and when acquiring things to acquire only what is of value and makes one happy.

jennifer said...

Absolutely. When I buy something or just bring something home (like that blasted cake dish), I ask myself if it will make me or someone else happy, if I have another that works just as well and if I would rather dedicate the money I would be spending, no matter how small of an amount, to more important dreams.
As for creations, my own are scattered all over the world... kind of like leaves.

Jennifer said...

In my opinion, a handmade creation is something very different from what goes on sale the day after Thanksgiving at Walmart.

That said, I have a cake dish too, which I use all the time and it brings me such pleasure and joy. Probably because I put my homemade cakes on it for my family and friends to enjoy. (Presentation is important.)

But I kept the box. So it can be packaged when the time comes to move on...