There is a joy in baking, a joy in preparing food that you know will bring closed eyes, warm smiles, and groans of delight. A joy in knowing that your hands have created something that brings nourishment or, at the very least, a dance of sweetness across the tastebuds. But I must confess, there are moments when I look down at what my hands are making and instead of blueberries and farm fresh eggs and heaps of flour and sugars, all I see are calories and pant sizes and bulges along backs and fronts. There is this strange love-hate relationship I’ve formed with food since becoming a baker. Working around food all day, I have a new appreciation for how it transforms from seeds and ground to fruit and table. I’ve met many inspiring people through the farmers market who have reminded me of the purity and goodness of food. But in the midst of returning to this ultimate foundation of sustenance, I’ve also, for the first time, developed a rather acute sense of animosity towards food. Perhaps not towards the foods themselves (for how can one ever truly hate a strawberry, that plump red, speckled heart, or a stick of butter so creamy and yellow, I’m reminded of summer and warmth and soft fading light), but towards myself, towards the way my body processes these foods. Always, the chubby little girl peeks out of me, longing to be noticed as beautiful but feeling trapped inside by hips and thighs. The comments of “How do you stay looking like that working at a bakery?” are regarded not with acceptance or appreciation but with an immediate comparison between this body and some ball of dough I had been kneading earlier in the day. Why is it that food, something so good, so life-giving and sustaining and joy-bringing, can be so devastating? I go back to the faces, those beautiful faces with closed eyes, warm smiles, and groans of delight. Happiness is what makes them beautiful. Happiness is what makes me feel beautiful. Should my waistline forever remain a softer number, would I have a miserable life? I wrestle with the answer but I see those beautiful faces and think, no. Those faces full of happiness, and not one body can I remember for they matter not an ounce in that moment. Every time I look down at that pile of dough I must once again accept grace and extend gratitude for the beauty of savorable moments, for the opportunity to partake in dinners and desserts and delight among friends. For therein lies happiness, in that mound of dough which I enthusiastically plunge into with both hands, there and not some mirror; instead learning to let the mirror be those lovely, happy faces.