Rita may struggle in the kitchen in a literal sense, but her theoretical culinary skills are top notch. Following the sage advice of her mother, she successfully waited for Norman to be "done," while also acquiring an artful intuition in the kitchen that helped her detect and redirect Oliver to the correct oven just in time.
The Patient Baker
From the very beginning, Rita adhered to the advice to stay out of the kitchen and keep the oven door closed. Even when spurred on by Shane, particularly in For Christmas to "jump start" her relationship with Norman, Rita made it clear that "you can't rush these things"---and she was right.
Waiting also rewarded the couple with the added benefit of minimizing the number of half-baked and half-eaten baked goods left in their wake, or being half-baked and half-eaten themselves. Coming into the relationship whole minimized the potential impact of past relational bumps and bruises that have handicapped a couple close to NoRita---Shane and Oliver. And, of course, meant that there weren't other people out there with bumps and bruises caused by Norman or Rita. So far, the only person we know of is Bob, and something tells me he's not hurting too bad---the thief!
Rita's patience yielded a relationship that has proven even more sweet than she or Norman could have possibly imagined. It also made her more sensitive to the baking taking place in a nearby kitchen.
The act of handing Oliver a piece of the cake Shane ordered from Montaldo's may not have seemed like a big deal at the time, but when taken in context with what transpired as result, the action becomes a lot more meaningful.
As of From The Heart, Rita has become an outspoken advocate of Shane and Oliver's relationship. She expressed her hope that Oliver had extended an invitation for Valentine's Day, and wasted no time in extracting details about the dinner once it took place.
Keenly aware of the sudden appearance of Dale, Rita seemed intent on preventing the wrong person from opening the proverbial oven in One In A Million. Her artful diversion removed Dale from the situation, while providing Oliver the opportunity to remember the finished, oven-fresh "cake" right in front of him, completing the remaining stages of Oliver's own baking process, as indicated by his decision to seek out Shane for that second chance date.
Adherence to her mother's advice, though long-suffering and sometimes hard to watch, allowed Rita to grow into the person she was meant to be, and afforded Norman the chance to do the same. In the end, it allowed each of them to be "done" right on time. Mastery in her own kitchen proved invaluable, guiding Oliver to the correct "oven" and the long-awaited finished product therein.
Before you argue that as humans was are never really "done baking"---which is totally valid---I think there are certain points in our lives where we become ready for the next thing, which I think the "oven" concept helps to illustrate, and certainly applies here.
Seeking A Kitchen [And An Oven?],