Written by Connie Stewart, Isabella’s Grandma
Let me start off by saying that my mom is an amazing baker. She is known for her German chocolate cake, coconut cream pie and brownies with homemade icing. My daughter Amy is known for her many varieties of cookies and creative cakes and I dabble in baking a bit with cake pops and strawberry cakes. If you know Erin, you know that she was more than happy to step aside and pass this trait on to Isabella. She didn’t like the mess it created and would much rather pull out a roll of cookie dough from the refrigerator and have warm cookies in 15 minutes with no mess. Erin would get out the mixer, point to the flour and sugar and say “There you go”. But Isabella loved to bake and I was very happy to help her. And I do mean, help her. She was always in charge and I was the one getting the eggs, flour and various ingredients. She would handle everything from there.
As far back as I can remember, she would pull up a little step stool and put on an apron and do whatever she could to bake something. One christmas when she was maybe 5 years old, we got her an apron with her name embroidered on it and a baking set with measuring cups, measuring spoons and bowls. The was so excited to break it open and begin cooking. I think she actually fixed scrambled eggs for breakfast for us that morning with a little instruction from her dad.
But her favorite things to make were cookies, cupcakes and cakes. One Easter weekend, Isabella and I spent the entire afternoon baking, icing and decorating a bunny cake complete with jelly beans and sprinkles. She was so proud of it. Later that night, her Uncle Nathan came over and when she offered him a piece he took a big piece of the bunny butt. She couldn’t stop giggling about that and her infectious laugh made us all laugh too.
I think my favorite memory of her cooking skills came in 2011 when all of us were together for an ISF Face. Another one of Isabella’s favorite things was spending time with her cousins. Amy’s three girls were close to her age and she love just running with them and giggling. One this particular day, the four of them spent hours planning a cooking show. Actually, it was not just a cooking show it was “The Isabella Cooking Show”. They decided to hold the show in the garage on the pink stage that her dad had built. They designed a sign, wrote out a menu, and set up the stage and chairs for the audience complete with a microphone. Everyone on stage had to wear a cupcake t-shirt and the color theme was, of course, pink. They made blueberry muffins and explained the process which took an entire two minutes. Isabella took center stage and stirred the batter over and over and over. They had not quite planned what to do next so they passed around a microphone and took questions from the audience ranging from “How long do these muffins bake” to “Can Sophia help you?” which met with a resounding “NO!”.
One thing about Isabella and her baking was that she never wanted to eat the things that she made. I don’t know if she didn’t care of the things that she baked or that she knew something I didn’t about what went into it. Mmmmm… Either way, I loved the time that we shared doing this. It was a time for the two of us to just talk and laugh. She would tell me about things that went on at school, her boyfriend, Joey, or how her brother and sister were annoying her. I would tell her about her cousins or ask her about some of the places she had been all while we continued mixing and measuring. I know that she didn’t get it at the time, but for me, this was perfect. It was my chance to share something my mom, my daughters and now my granddaughter enjoyed.
I know this year the Easter Bunny brought Sophia some baking supplies. Hopefully I will get some ‘banking time’ with her too.