As Valentine’s Day approaches and the feverish countdown begins for so many dating singles, some great advice is to know what you really love before you look for it.  Company is not the entire list!

We do know what we love and it will serve us to define it.  This lesson came from the strangest place – my grandmother’s baking… We love what we know, and what feels familiar.  Baking has always been a normal part of life in my family.   My grandmother baked continuously and served us grandkids on Sunday mornings, eagerly surrounding her kitchen table, saying “I don’t have much” as she would bring trays of coffee cakes and brownies, home made short bread cookies or the left over pies from last week’s dinners.

My mother has been baking her whole life too and although when she was little she thought “store bought” cookies were the treat, it has been no secret that her baking and grandma’s recipes are the favourites of all of us. I have been baking those recipes myself since I was old enough to do more than simply lick the spoon, and still love them to this day.  Yes, some others get tried and some actually do remain as keepers, but whenever i am composing my list of what to bake for the holidays – the first ones on there are always mom’s and grandma’s recipes.

I have always thought that these baking treats were the best gift – because of the joy of eating something home made, delicious and pretty.  What i’ve realized is that most people have their own home baking that they love the most, and we all receive and respond to new baking in a curious way.  images (2) We appreciate it.  We understand and respect the effort and care it takes to create and then generously share home baked treats.

The gratitude we have when we receive some is genuine. Then we try the treats of course, and appreciate them, but then mostly – we go back to eating our own treats. We have no relationship with these new coloured squares or sugar dusted cookies… they almost become a composition of their ingredients – extra sugar, butter and calories to consume that we’d prefer to spend on grandma’s new york squares….

The plates of dried uneaten baked goods, dropped off by others end up sitting in wait longer than almost any other thing in our kitchens.  To throw them out feels wrong – unjust somehow and unappreciative…  So we glance at them, while we devour entire boxes of our family favourites.

We’re the same with people.  The characteristics that we see in others that mirror the characteristics in the ones we love, or have loved before somehow sew up a deeper seam in our relationships as they bring us the familiar.  Defining the qualities we most deeply love is required, before we define a laundry list of what a potential partner must look like or do for a living…  Attraction is important, but dangerous – how many beautifully decorated cookies have all of us had that have tasted like sawdust…

Shopping through the sea of online profiles is just like looking at new tasty treats in the bakeshop… when what we really crave is something that we know… and keep coming back to as it gives us much more than just a few delicious bites…

We love what we know we love.  And we know it because we recognize it.