It seems to me that the world of people who choose to spend time in the kitchen is divided between those who love to cook and those who love to bake (although there are many who cross the divide happily and successfully…)
I definitely fall on the cooking side: as you’ve probably already gathered from previous posts, I don’t always follow a recipe and if I do, the recipe is really only a ‘guideline’ that is fully open to interpretation. I love that there is always something that can be changed, added, substituted…that is what makes the dish my own. Cooking is all about the alchemy that happens, for better or worse, when you start to play with the rules.
Now, when it comes to baking, I have been known to make cookies on a (very) rare occasion, there is the annual tortiere pie crust at Christmas, and I will turn my hand to pizza dough a few times a year (in search of the perfect recipe*) but that is about my limit.
I stand in awe of those who bake. It is a science and I never underestimate the chemistry and precision involved in making sure that you have the exact proportions of baking soda/baking powder, the ingredients are at the right temperature, the yeast has been left long enough, etc. I have come to accept that I just don’t have the patience to be a good baker.
Perhaps this is because I did not grow up in a baking family: although there was one summer that my sister decided to find the perfect chocolate brownie recipe and it took me about 3 years to lose the 10 pounds I put on as the taste tester…
In all the comments I received on a recent post about mother-related food memories, I was struck by how many of the memories were about baking: biscuits, cheesecake, pies, etc. I wonder if it is because of the delicious smells, getting to lick the spoon or beaters, the anticipation of waiting for something scrumptious to come out of the oven?
I totally understand why I cook but I’m really curious to hear from those who love to bake. What is about baking that makes you happy?
*And if anyone has a great pizza dough recipe, please send it along…