marianne williamson quote

Illustration: Jen Troyer

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Most people show their love and appreciation with baked goods. My husband is always bringing people oatmeal-raisin cookies, for example. Nobody dislikes you after an oatmeal-raisin cookie. However, there are also people on this planet who can’t bake—an activity which requires precision with measuring cups and a little stamping tyrant in your brain who will not let you blow off the word "sift."

For years, I tried (and failed) to master German chocolate cake. One day, I said to myself: "Why am I making this stupid cake? I don’t even like cake." A little Roman candle of understanding blasted through me: "I don’t like cake! I like macaroni and cheese! I like lasagna!"

You can’t create what you don’t dream of—mostly because creations come out of your most intimate longings. I began making what I liked for the Sunday coffee hour after church and, after a brief pause to understand why pesto pizza was being served at 11 a.m., people gobbled it up as if it had been lemon bars. Learning to cook a really delicious, decadent thing for others is not just a way to show your affection—it’s a reminder that when you do what you love, you pretty much always do it with excellence.