I wonder when this seed was planted. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how unhappy I have been feeling with my life. And I don’t mean it in the aspect of comfort and luxury. I’m grateful for those, sure. I can’t discredit my parents for giving those things to me. But the more time passes, the more I grow anxious: What is going to happen with my life? What about where I’m going? No one has ever attempted to talk to me about this topic. Maybe that’s why I feel a little lost.
I’ve been baking because it removes me from all the fears and apprehension that swirl around in my mind constantly, but that’s only a few precious hours in a week. The rest of the time I feel like I’m stuck in a ditch, frustratedly clawing my way out of the hole I’ve dug myself into in my head. And you know what I realized? I am the only one who can get myself out.
I am relieved that I began to understand this fact from an early age, and especially now, at 21, I’m beginning to understand a lot more about how life works. I am glad I have an ability to figure things out quickly just by observing them, and although the time it takes me to adapt varies depending on the situation, just knowing what I’m dealing with helps quite a lot in the adjustment. During these small moments of discovery, whether positive or negative, all you can really do is push yourself up and move on. If you dwell so much on one thing, again, whether it be positive or negative, you get stuck there. Rooted. Life has a way of doing that because life is all about moving onwards.
Yet there are days like today when my arms are a bit tired, and I stay flattened against the ground, breathing in the dirt; days when I berate myself for being unhappy because I’m supposed to be grateful for the things I have in my life. It’s days like today when I let my imagination run into so many other better things out there that constitute what I really want; when I feel like I’m wasting all my potential away simply staying where I am. Is it wrong for me to think about these things? Am I feeling this frustration because I have no idea at this point how I will even begin to pursue my dreams? Am I having some sort of quarter-life crisis?
This is all so tiring for the soul.
I wish life could be half as straightforward as a lemon bar. Buttery crust underneath a soft, lemony and tart filling that melts in your mouth– that’s all one really needs to know. Can you explain life in a short phrase like that? Probably not.
Martha's Lemon Bars
For the crust
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, frozen, plus more for dish
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
For the filling
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Make the crust
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9 x 13" baking dish, and line with parchment.
- 2. Grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes; set aside. Whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture looks crumbly.
- 3. Transfer mixture to prepared dish; Press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Freeze crust 15 minutes. Bake until slightly golden, 16-18 minutes. Leave oven on.
Meanwhile, make the filling
- 4. Whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, flour and salt in a bowl until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and milk. Pour over hot crust.
- 5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack (maybe 10 minutes).
- 6. Lift out using the parchment paper overhang. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 2-inch squares. Dust with confectioners' sugar.
- Storage: Lemon Squares can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.