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Friday, March 4, 2011

Rolling In Dough

Cooking failed to interest me as a child. Other than the end result, that is. Oh, mom tried to teach me, but I would have none of it. When I entered college life, she gave me a helpful notebook filled with all the life skills I refused to notice earlier called Where's Mom Now That I Need Her? In reality, she was one hour and one phone call away, but the point was clear.

My college roommate cooked with what I will call practicality. Did you know just about anything can bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and come out edible? I learned how to have a meat, vegetable and starch ready at the same time. I even learned how to make macaroni and cheese so delicious and unhealthy you could die just looking at it.

When a family friend showed me how to make stew, my cooking career launched. Casseroles, soups and stews are even easier than baking chicken and create a week's worth of meals instead of a single sit-down. I don't use recipes, just ingredients, and I like the results the majority of the time. Especially when I remember to add salt.

A few years ago, I got hooked on the show America's Test Kitchen (now owned by Martha Stewart and called something else I can't remember). I learned the difference between cooking and baking.

In cooking, you can throw ingredients in a pot and as long as you don't cook out the color of the vegetables get passable results.

Try that with baking and you will get a mess.

Baking is all about chemistry. This ingredient reacting with that ingredient to create this effect. Beat X amount of times. Too few and it falls apart. Too many and congratulations! You made a rock. 

I am not a baker. The only oven in my house is a toaster oven, and I use it mostly with store-bought bagels.

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure.

Maybe I'm saying life is a kitchen, where sometimes you cook and other times you have to bake.

Maybe I'm saying I would rather wing it than measure it.

Maybe God made both ways so all personality types would have a chance to both enjoy and hate food preparation.

Mostly I'm saying, "I'm so sorry the cream puffs didn't turn out, my lamb. I hope you're able to salvage the second batch, and we'll try it again when we have more Crisco."


  1. Ha! I loved cooking and baking with Momma when I was little. She made it fun. When the kids were little, not so much...picky things. Now that they are older, I have fallen in love with cooking and baking once more. It is a love/hate relationship due to the mass amount of food my kitchen produces. But leaning more toward love every day. :D

  2. This was just funny. I do hope things worked out for your niece and would have LOVED being a fly on the wall during that little ordeal.


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