Thursday, November 8, 2007
I Bake, Therefore I Am
Helllloooooo, Party People! Welcome to Moi's Baking Blog!
Blame my brother. If he hadn't been such a problem child and if, in being such a problem child, hadn't decided to use the back end of our parent's 1964 Volkswagen Beetle as a makeshift slide, and if the license plate attached to said makeshift slide had never had a sliver of razor sharp metal jutting out from one corner, and if that piece of metal hadn't sliced into the outside of my brother's leg like a Wüsthof knife slicing into a fat piece of Grade A Prime beef, and if said cut hadn't required five bazillion stitches and a trip to the toy store to appease the screeching little brat, then there's a good chance I wouldn't be typing these words.
But it was during that trip to the toy store, in which my harried parents urged us uncharacteristically to buy whatever we wanted, that I found this, the object that jump-started my obsession. While my brother brooded indecisively over whether to bring home yet another G.I. Joe with which to torture my Pam Am Stewardess Barbie or a Mr. Potato Head with which to no doubt torture the dog, I knew instantly what I wanted.
This little red stool. Because it was just high enough to boost my five year old body up to counter height to help my mother bake.
In those early days as a stay-at-home-mom, my mother was either off on some long and lonesome walk through the sage brushed prairie that surrounded our home or she was in the kitchen, expertly crafting the myriad goodies required to appease my father's prodigious appetite for sweets. And for many, many years, I was right there beside her: watching, taking notes, licking the pans . . .
As a result, by the time I was ten years old, I had mastered my grandmother's secret pound cake. At twelve, I spent an entire day making puff pastry by hand, a Herculean effort that resulted in enough Napoleons to feed the neighborhood. In my teens, I was in charge of all the family birthday cakes. By the time I graduated high school, there was little in the way of sweet stuffs that I hadn't given at least one go. I was nothing short of a baking slut.
Twenty some odd years later, I'm still at it.
And most people I know ask me: Why? Isn't it so much easier to skip on over to the local bakery or Trader Joe's and just purchase your dessert?
Sure it is, but it's not as much fun.
Yes, I said it. Baking is fun. Chemistry, schmemistry. Look, I la la la la la-ed my way through four years of high school science and my baked goods are none the worse for wear. If I can do it, so can you.
So come on, grab an apron. Fire up the electric mixer. Dust off those muffin pans. Put on your favorite boogie shoes and let's go cook us something sweet to eat . . .