Surprisingly, my scholarly reading intersected with my passion for baking yesterday. I have been experimenting with various forms of yeasted coffee cakes, and decided to use my Best Ever Crescent Roll Dough, which I consider the gold standard for soft rolls and anything sweet. The dough, however, proved to be a little too soft and sticky; I had trouble rolling it out evenly and it developed several tears in the course of my making a chocolate-filled babka (click HERE for the recipe that was my inspiration). But I trudged on undaunted by the mess on the counter, my sticky hands, and the lopsided twist in the Bundt pan before me.
Marcus Aurelius, as it turns out, would agree. That very morning I had read the following passage:
[W]hen bread is baked some parts are split at the surface, and these parts which thus open, and have a certain fashion contrary to the purpose of the baker's art, are beautiful in a manner, and in a peculiar way excite a desire for eating. And again, figs, when they are quite ripe, gape open; and in the ripe olives the very circumstance of their being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. And the ears of corn bending down, and the lion's eyebrows, and the foam which flows from the mouth of wild boars, and many other things- though they are far from being beautiful, if a man should examine them severally- still, because they are consequent upon the things which are formed by nature, help to adorn them, and they please the mind . . .
Meditations Book III, section 2