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I bake because?

roxlet Nov 12, 2011 04:02 PM

180 degrees from Rella's post:

I bake because I find the process so interesting and the endless variations fascinating.
I bake because a homemade cookie, a cupcake, a pie or a piece of cake seem to make most people really happy.
I bake because my husband does so much of the cooking, that this has become my speciality over the years.
I bake because I have a teenaged son and he has lots of friends who make short work of my latest creation.
Mostly, I bake because I love it!

Why do YOU bake?

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  1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 12, 2011 04:05 PM

    I am going to copy and paste from Rella's post because my post actually work for both topic.

    I will try to answer as best as I can.

    I bake. Sometime once per week. Sometime once per month. I bake for fun. I don't bake for necessity. This is very different from my cooking. I cook because I really eat the foods I cook and I rather eat my cooked food than eating out (averagely speaking). When I cook, I save money, and I have better control of what I eat.

    I bake for fun. I want to see if I can get close to the professional bakery results. When I do bake, I usually only eat a few pieces of my baked goods and take the rest to work to share with coworkers. Unlike cooking, I don't save money by baking. It is much cheaper for me if I just buy a loaf of bread or a box of cookies from stores.

    In short, I bake, but I don't have to.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      roxlet Nov 12, 2011 04:50 PM

      I suppose it's a hobby for us. I also like to see how I do relative to what bakeries produce, and I think you'll agree that homemade can top all but the finest bakeries!

      1. re: roxlet
        Chemicalkinetics Nov 12, 2011 05:59 PM

        Agree. :)

    2. babette feasts Nov 12, 2011 04:50 PM

      Because it's warm by the oven.

      Because it makes people tell me they love me.

      Because it's delicious.

      1. h
        HillJ Nov 12, 2011 05:50 PM

        Same answer I gave to Rella:

        I bake because I come from a long line of professional bakers and not baking just wasn't an option. I learned to love it and I learned to carve a professional life from it. My husband and children all grew up with freshly made breads, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies...well you get the picture. When dh & I started our family we never bought these things. Even school lunches, always baked by me. Today, our youngest child is in college and he is a fine cookie maker but lacks the time...so he'll bake maybe once a week and I send care packages. But as a family we enjoy baking, what other people bake and naturally have found the professional services of others delightful :) even the baker likes a day off!

        And fwiw, I love it when people bake for me or send me baked gifts. So dear friends, keep doing it!

        1. s
          sandylc Nov 12, 2011 05:53 PM

          As other baking fanatics have said, I'm copying my post from Rella's topic:

          I bake because:

          -It satisfies my schizophrenic (half math, half art) brain by being both creative and precise
          -We like baked goods, but we want them without chemicals and excess sugar
          -People enjoy the results
          -It is a (relatively) inexpensive hobby

          1 Reply
          1. re: sandylc
            L.Nightshade Nov 13, 2011 12:46 PM

            I really relate to this answer, all of the points. I find something about the precision of baking rewarding, especially when that precision is applied to both the process and the presentation. I love to cook all types of food, but there is nothing very exacting about putting together a stew.

          2. Chemicalkinetics Nov 12, 2011 06:01 PM

            You know..... I am so expecting someone to answer the topic with something like:

            I bake because I am.
            (I think, therefore I am)

            ;)

            3 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              buttertart Nov 14, 2011 10:16 AM

              But that's putting Descartes before de oven...

              1. re: buttertart
                roxlet Nov 14, 2011 10:19 AM

                Good one! (groan)

                1. re: roxlet
                  buttertart Nov 14, 2011 10:21 AM

                  I'm working on my serious answer.

            2. r
              rasputina Nov 12, 2011 06:40 PM

              I just love the putting together a bunch of ingredients and voila out comes something luscious and awesome. I love baking. I probably bake as much if not more than I cook. Out of the 500 or so recipes I have on my computer the vast majority of them are baking, not cooking.

              1. todao Nov 12, 2011 07:31 PM

                I bake because, unlike most cooking processes, baking requires following some fairly strict scientific rules and I hate rules. So I work with a generally accepted formula by the "rules" and, when I've mastered it using that approach, I adjust it a little at a time to see how I can improve on it - either texturally or in flavor or in some other way. In the end, I've created something that is uniquely my own. That, of course, creates a lot of mistakes. But the dog enjoys them, regardless of how I might feel about it.

                1. mamachef Nov 12, 2011 08:29 PM

                  I bake because the results are so satisfying; so much more so than anything you could ever purchase and because we like sweets :)
                  I bake because the precise nature of the work is soothing and clears my mind
                  I bake because when I enjoy a purchased product, I want to be able to make the same thing, only hopefully a bit better because I'm the one doing quality control.
                  I bake because other people love getting baked goods as gifts.
                  I bake because my kids love it, which is why I started baking in the first place on any kind of regular basis at home, though I did restaurant baking for a few years.
                  I bake because my guys at work love homebaked treats, and they deserve them for being such good kids.
                  I bake because to me, any gift of food is a gift of love that tells the receiver: "I thought about you and wanted you to have something really nice that only I could give you." (at least, this exact recipe or way. :)

                  1. cookie monster Nov 12, 2011 09:40 PM

                    I bake because it fascinates me that the same basic ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate . . .) can be combined to make so many delicious things.

                    I bake because I love hearing people say "you made that? From scratch? OMG!"

                    I bake because the processes of measuring, mixing, rolling, icing, etc. destresses me.

                    I bake because the nature of my day job is such that it may take months, or years (if ever), for me to see any tangible results from my efforts. But when I bake, in an hour or two I have a beautiful and tasty finished product that makes me and others very happy.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cookie monster
                      f
                      fickle Nov 21, 2011 07:00 PM

                      +1

                      1. re: cookie monster
                        k
                        Kelli2006 Nov 24, 2011 12:48 AM

                        You said it better than I did. I enjoy the precision and the challenge of doing it.

                        I bake and my friends. family and co-workers get to eat the results because strangely I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

                      2. Tripeler Nov 13, 2011 01:06 AM

                        I don't bake very much these days, but in my Tokyo neighborhood there is a bakery with a sign that says

                        BAKE MY DAY

                        Obviously a Clint Eastwood fan.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Tripeler
                          Chemicalkinetics Nov 13, 2011 07:24 AM

                          That is funny. In my way to Philly, there is a McDonald sign which reads "Wake up with a cold SWEET"

                        2. s
                          smartie Nov 13, 2011 05:54 AM

                          Because I love the smell of cake baking, and cutting up a fresh homemade cake is better than any store cake. Because I can adjust the sweetness or make something more chocolate-y, less or more nutty or fruity or lemony. I have lots of different size cake pans. It's a way to use up ingredients too like too many bananas.

                          1. ttoommyy Nov 13, 2011 06:41 AM

                            ...because it is a magical and comforting experience and the end result makes me and those around me happy. Also, I am a frustrated artist and my cookies are the way I express this frustration.

                            1. RealMenJulienne Nov 13, 2011 06:58 AM

                              because I live in China and the bread here is mostly terrible.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                Chemicalkinetics Nov 13, 2011 07:21 AM

                                Ha ha ha.

                                1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                  chef chicklet Nov 13, 2011 10:13 AM

                                  That's a perfectly great reason!

                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                    EWSflash Nov 18, 2011 07:53 PM

                                    The best I can think of, in fact. :-)

                                2. c
                                  Cachetes Nov 13, 2011 07:32 AM

                                  I bake because:

                                  -my family loves it
                                  -I don't have to, but because I want to.
                                  -I find it incredibly relaxing.
                                  -it links me to my now-deceased mother, with whom I spent many a day in the kitchen baking.
                                  -my son does it with me.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Cachetes
                                    roxlet Nov 13, 2011 07:55 AM

                                    That's wonderful! There are a few things that I used to make for/with my mother.

                                  2. DiningDiva Nov 13, 2011 08:03 AM

                                    I bake because

                                    - I like to
                                    - It tastes better than purchased (inmost cases)
                                    - I am always fascinated by how putting ingredients together can result in such interesting end results
                                    - I have a sweet tooth and crave carbs with my sugar :-)
                                    - It's a great diversion when life gets stressful because it makes me focus on something other than problems and issues

                                    Right now I don't have as much time to bake as I'd like, nor as many to eat the results :-(

                                    1. chef chicklet Nov 13, 2011 10:10 AM

                                      I bake (still learning) after I realized that no matter what wonderful dishes, cuisines or techniques I learned, If I couldn't bake an apple pie my cooking abilities would be questionable. I've always been envious of good bakers, they seem to be a much more calmer group. My inability to bake would resonate while watching shows like Top Chef. When the chefs were given challenges to make a dessert, even cookies, some of the chefs would just fall apart!! Well that would be me and this made me realize I needed to stop resisting and stop with my excuses and get serious.

                                      I can't deny that baking is still a stretch for me, I still get anxiety every single time I bring the flour container out! I'm a bit of an analytic, I read and reread recipes quite a bit since I've encountered quite a few failures. I still ask questions that probably seem dumb to good bakers. I do tip toe around a lot of recipes and I still get hung up with ingredients, baking well is definitely not just flour and water.

                                      But one thing is for sure, oh how good it feels to make beautiful bread, pie and goodies for my family and friends!

                                      1. amyzan Nov 13, 2011 10:25 AM

                                        I bake because it satisfies me in a way that only baking can. It's a great way to meld science and art, knowledge and sensory experience. It relaxes me. It brings me into the present and engages all of me. Then, I get the pleasure of sharing that little bit of myself with others, and seeing them enjoy it.

                                        1. chowser Nov 13, 2011 11:37 AM

                                          For all the reasons listed above. The science geek in me loves that I can add a tablespoon extra of flour and get a taller cookie, I can increase brown/white sugar ratio and get a flatter one. I love knowing what causes what and be able to manipulate it for what I want. Like Frankenstein with baked goods. I love getting my hands into dough as I knead, I love kneading. I love playing with the pastry bag to decorate cakes and I love how fancy you can make them, or home style plain. I love that I know just when to pull cakes, cookies, etc. by looking and touching. I love cookies right out of the oven. I love how excited my kids are when they come home from school and smell fresh baked goodies. I love giving people baked goods I've made and making them happy. Egotiscally, I love when they rave about it.

                                          Or, maybe I just like raw cookie dough.

                                          1. majordanby Nov 13, 2011 11:46 AM

                                            creativity, innovation. baking - whether it be sweet or savory - allows me to be more flexible with my ingredients.

                                            and there's something to be said about a kitchen warmed up by a oven on a cool fall or winter's evening.

                                            1. q
                                              Querencia Nov 13, 2011 03:46 PM

                                              Reflecting on your question I have been thinking of how my reason for baking has changed over my lifetime. As an American teenager living in Argentina I longed for American baked goods and, seeing no other source, got hold of a cookbook and started baking them myself. So Reason One was "to assure availability". Later, married to a graduate student and keeping house on no money, I baked because we couldn't afford baked goods at the bakery, thus, Reason Two, economy. When later on we were in better circumstances, I discovered that the coveted bought stuff wasn't all that good so, Reason Three, homemade tastes better. Over the years more reasons turned up: hospitality, reassurance, kindness, pleasing family members, accommodating somebody's special diet, community spirit, and...face it...showing off. Now an elderly widow, I thought at first that baking just for myself was silly until one day I was standing in bakery and the thought dawned on me that paying $12 for some crappy pastry that leaves Crisco on the roof of your mouth was silly, so now I am baking again for all of the above reasons, plus the joy of having something delicious with a cup of tea, and I expect to keep baking until I drop. I can't imagine not baking. Baking is who I am. And listen to this horrid story. Forty years ago after presenting strong credentials and still not getting a job offer, I baked warm sticky pecan rolls for an afternoon seminar. The professor stopped class dead while he ate with both hands for 45 minutes, after which he told me that [the person I was trying to get to hire me] was an old friend and he would call her that night. He did. I got the job.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Querencia
                                                roxlet Nov 13, 2011 07:17 PM

                                                Wonderful reasons, and a great story!

                                                1. re: Querencia
                                                  mamachef Nov 13, 2011 09:04 PM

                                                  This is marvelous, Querencia. I love how your baking evolved with the circumstances of your life, and I especially like the end story.

                                                2. i
                                                  Isolda Nov 13, 2011 04:19 PM

                                                  I bake because I love sugar, yeast and flour and because carbs in any form make me happy. I love kneading dough and I love the smell of sweet crisp buttery things in my oven.

                                                  Dessert is one of the most important meals of the day, and most storebought desserts are crap.

                                                  1. r
                                                    rainey Nov 13, 2011 04:33 PM

                                                    I bake because I don't hang around in 4-star restaurants where I can get incredible things. I have to make them myself.

                                                    I bake because nothing tastes as wonderful as authentic butter, eggs, sugar and flour. There is no "dough conditioner" that can create the flavor of the real stuff.

                                                    I bake because you just don't get a houseful of aroma from something that comes home from a bakery.

                                                    I bake because there is an infinite number of challenges to address all the time.

                                                    I bake because I can see something luscious and tailor it to my palate and the palates of my family.

                                                    I bake because nothing gives me the sense of accomplishment or the satisfaction of giving my family and friends something that they know I made for them.

                                                    I bake because it honors the women in my life that taught me their art.

                                                    Bottom line: I bake because I really enjoy doing it. I don't even eat it anymore. But there are a miliion more pleasures to baking than merely swallowing.

                                                    1. Jay F Nov 13, 2011 04:42 PM

                                                      I bake because after pasta, my favorite food is cake.

                                                      I bake because meat is gross.

                                                      I bake because vegetables are dirty. Give me flour and sugar or give me death.

                                                      I bake because have you ever eaten a cake from a supermarket bakery?

                                                      I bake because I have friends who have birthdays.

                                                      I bake because I was once a member of a fellowship that celebrated anniversaries.

                                                      When I first started cooking (early 1970s), I realized I hated touching meat the first time I cut up a chuck roast for Boeuf Bourguignon; at the end of a couple of meals later, I became aware I couldn’t stand to touch cold chicken. And with a very few exceptions (artichokes, asparagus, carrots, potatoes), vegetables were the very height of “mucho trabajo, no mucho dinero,” as the prep cooks who would later inhabit my life used to say (the definition of “dinero” expanded to encompass any type of benefit).

                                                      I got my start making tarts. I didn’t have the right stuff for making cakes until later. In 1977 or ’78, I had a boss (in advertsing) who had once owned a restaurant. He suggested I make a tart for dessert for a dinner party he was coming to chez moi. He loaned me the tart pans and Cuisinart. I bought my own rolling pin. I couldn’t believe “I made this” and neither could anyone else. It was beautiful and delicious and hadn’t really been that much work, thanks in large part to the flour I got all over everything.

                                                      When I moved away from NY, I made chocolate mousse in my trusty souffle dish for a Thanksgiving dinner I was invited to (I knew I had to bring dessert if I were going to eat dessert). And again, another round of “You made this?” Well, yeah. "From scratch?” Well, duh (we didn’t actually say “duh” those days).

                                                      When I got a subscription to BA, it was always the desserts that screamed or whispered sinuously, “Make me…Make me…make me.” Simca Beck’s Gateau Montmorency. Abby Mandel’s sorbets. A wicked extravagant white chocolate cake with these huge, abstract white chocolate bows on top.

                                                      I never became a pastry chef. I didn’t feel like going to school for it, and never really felt I understood baking, i.e., what differences it makes if you add another cup of sugar, or used the creaming method v. the Rose Levy Beranbaum method.

                                                      I bake now because I like fruit desserts now. Most fruits, like most veg, are pretty damned boring until you do something with them. And people love my apple (or other) crisp.

                                                      I bake now because again this Thanksgiving, how else am I going to make sure there’s something to eat after dinner besides baby diarrhea en croute (pumpkin pie)?

                                                      1. blue room Nov 13, 2011 05:36 PM

                                                        Open any baking book (with pictures) and you'll *see* why I bake -- because the results are so compelling and delightful. Also for musical reasons -- baking makes me "feel like a natch-er-ul woman",

                                                        and "it's so nice to have a cake around the house."

                                                        And sometimes simply to show off, or pleasantly pass the time of day.

                                                        1. roxlet Nov 13, 2011 07:20 PM

                                                          Wow! What poetic, wonderful, and heart-felt reasons from everyone!

                                                          1. r
                                                            Redstickchef Nov 14, 2011 12:00 PM

                                                            I bake because nothing else, no other activity gives me such a wonderful combination of joy and relaxation. Even though baking is very precise, for me I feel at peace measuring out the dry ingredients, the wet ingredients and mixing them together to make a delicious whole. And after a long day of baking, when my right arm is sore from whisking and my feet are screaming from standing next to the oven, I am not sitting down watching tv but instead I find myself drawn to cookbooks or magazines in hopes of finding my next baking challenge.

                                                            I bake because of the joy it brings to the ones I love. When the pecan pie that I make for thanksgiving comes out and my Dad's eyes light up, when my brother swipes a giant glob of chocolate frosting from his birthday cake or when my mom "secretly" goes back to the kitchen for that second slice of apple pie, I know that they have found as much joy in my treats as I did when I was making them.

                                                            I bake because it provides me with a challenge. There are so many different aspects of baking, so many different realms that need to be mastered. Of course if you know how to make a key element, pie crust for example well then you pretty much have a bit of a head's up when making other pies. But then what about making the meringue, or the streusal topping, or what about making a free-form tart? There is always a new technique out there that plays on my need to master that skill.

                                                            1. buttertart Nov 14, 2011 02:38 PM

                                                              I bake because women in my family have always baked and I was brought up with it (Saturday mornings my mom would always make a couple of pies and at least one kind of cookies or squares, as well as butter tarts every so often). I learned at her side, rolling (and rolling and rolling) a piece of pie dough she would spread with jam, fold in half to make a pasty, bake it, and my great-uncle would be kind enough to eat it. Now when I bake on weekend mornings I always think of her.
                                                              I bake because when we first got married it saved a lot of money, since we llived on almost nothing. I haven't bought more than 25 loaves of bread in all the niine kajillion years we've been married. I've very seldom bought any baked goods to speak of at all, a few oddball cookies and Portuguese tarts aside.
                                                              I bake because I like its rhythms and exigencies. I don't always measure scrupulously but I've seldom had to throw anything out.
                                                              I bake because I like to make things my husband likes (madeleines, anyone?).
                                                              I bake because I like to make other folks happy too.
                                                              I bake because it's the most pleasurable kitchen activity. I was a baker long before I really liked to cook. Even when we lived in Taipei with a minimal kitchen, I had to have a small electric oven and was bereft when it broke.
                                                              I bake because I love it.

                                                              24 Replies
                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                r
                                                                rainey Nov 14, 2011 03:27 PM

                                                                You know, I hadn't really reflected on the fact that it's possible there's a whole generation of people who have NO idea what good stuff tastes like. If they grew up on Duncan Hines and Entemann's they have no reason to be disappointed in third rate.

                                                                Maybe we're the lucky ones who know what good is and know that it's not that hard to have it if you learn a few things and set aside a minimal amount of time.

                                                                That's also why I always have to object when people say things like baking requires such precision or you *must* use a scale. Phooey. You must make a bit of a commitment to stirring a couple things and learning from your results. Case closed.

                                                                1. re: rainey
                                                                  s
                                                                  sandylc Nov 14, 2011 03:45 PM

                                                                  So many people don't know what real, high-quality food tastes like! It's so sad! I just remembered this: I was at a grocery store several years ago and they were serving samples of a pound cake they had baked using artificial flavorings by a big-name company. This cake was made with FIVE, count 'em, FIVE different fake flavors. I saw cake, thought, "yum", and ate it. O....M....G!!!! It tasted like nail polish remover!!! It was ghastly! But other people were loving it!!! (I only saw the flavorings that they were trying to sell after tasting the cake, so that didn't influence my reaction.)

                                                                  1. re: rainey
                                                                    chowser Nov 14, 2011 03:48 PM

                                                                    I think baking requires precision IF you want a certain result but if you just want a delicious baked good, there's a lot of room for play. My sister and I used to mix flour, water, salt and then bake. We loved it. But, if we wanted "bread pretzels" with a certain texture, taste, we'd have to be more precise. That's what I think of when people say baking is an exact science. If you add an extra couple of tablespoons to a roux, your final result won't be that different. If you add a couple of tablespoons extra to cookie dough, it will. If I don't care how chewy or puffy my cookies are, then it doesn't matter.

                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                      r
                                                                      rainey Nov 14, 2011 04:33 PM

                                                                      chowser, I know you're right when you (as in any general baker) want to be very specific about the outcome. And I know commercial bakeries have to be consistent or they don't make it.

                                                                      Those of us who bake at home for ourselves have a great deal more latitude. And I am a great proponent of people starting out taking advantage and reassurance from every bit of it. Then, in time, we develop a our sense of texture and feel and we can get more precise results and a more extensive palate of techniques while still not hamstringing ourselves any more than we care to be. ...because a couple extra tablespoons of flour in cookies still equals delicious and a couple too few still yields tuiles.

                                                                      So I absolutely concede your point. But I don't think it needs to *matter* more than we care to invest in it. ...if you get my point. Meanwhile, I concede yours happily.

                                                                      1. re: rainey
                                                                        chowser Nov 14, 2011 04:40 PM

                                                                        Sorry, I totally get your point but was just clarifying because I do talk about the importance of precision but that's only on CH where people, at least some, care about it. Where else can I talk about how to get Carole's tall cookies and the details? My friends' eyes glaze over. At the average home, where they just want cookies, anything goes and it'll taste great. My daughter left out the brown sugar in chocolate chip cookies and they were still delicious (talk about tall cookies). I'd hate to scare people off from trying to bake because of all the talk of science and precision so we're considering two cases here:

                                                                        1) A beginner can get delicious baked goods and not be precise;

                                                                        2) Precision is important as you start trying to manipulate results, as you get more seasoned. It's my geeky scientific background that I get into this part, and I love that I can find fellow bakers on CH who also do the same.

                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                          buttertart Nov 14, 2011 04:43 PM

                                                                          It's true if you're getting into our CH souschef's territory that you need to be precise. I just think a lot of people hear baking is a science, you have to measure precisely, etc etc and say the hell with that, let me just go buy something. Really too bad.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                            chowser Nov 14, 2011 04:55 PM

                                                                            I've only heard here on CH that baking is a precise science. I've never heard anyone really say that, or think about it in real life. Either my friends follow a recipe, or they buy or use mixes but no one I've met buys because they're afraid of science, or precision. They don't think about it.

                                                                            I did say that in my past post that there are two cases that are being discussed--one that is about getting good baked goods where it doesn't matter, one about when precision is important. Should we never go there because we're afraid it'll scare people off?

                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                              buttertart Nov 14, 2011 04:59 PM

                                                                              I've heard it and read it elsewhere. The new Taste of Home Baking book (don't bother getting it) says as much in its foreword as do a number of other books. I don't care in the least, people should just bake whatever the heck they want to make.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                s
                                                                                sandylc Nov 14, 2011 05:13 PM

                                                                                "I've heard it and read it elsewhere. The new Taste of Home Baking book (don't bother getting it) says as much in its foreword as do a number of other books. "

                                                                                Thank you. All things Taste of Home should be banned from planet Earth:-]

                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                  chowser Nov 14, 2011 05:16 PM

                                                                                  Yes, sorry, I wasn't more clear. I've read it in books but was talking about general conversation. I have a friend who is very much like you, excellent baker, loves to do it but her eyes totally glaze over when I talk about measuring, acids and bases, and wanting to play w/ the final product. I'm just happy to share whatever she makes because it's always good. At the same time, when she does have questions, she will ask me. She doesn't want all the details, just the basics. As I've said before, it's probably my science/math background that gets into all the geeky details. And, I have to say, it's CH that turned me this way! Before I discovered CH, I used to just bake.

                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                    r
                                                                                    rainey Nov 14, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                                    Hey! It worked for Alton Brown and I suspect he's seduced a lot of people into cooking and I *know* he made me a better cook for understanding more of the science!

                                                                                    Before I retired I was a preschool teacher. I cooked with my *toddlers* -- even 1yos -- as often as possible. In part, I knew they weren't getting the experience at home enough. But, beyond that, as Early Childhood educators, we recognize how much of the foundation of science and math we start establishing with cooking.

                                                                                    It's not just good for the taste buds!

                                                                                    1. re: rainey
                                                                                      chowser Nov 14, 2011 05:43 PM

                                                                                      How sweet to work with that age! Infinite patience. My son is fascinated by molecular gastronomy. Maybe he'll be Richard Blais when he grows up.

                                                                                      1. re: rainey
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        sandylc Nov 14, 2011 07:45 PM

                                                                                        Science and math, yes. But don't forget creativity!

                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                          chowser Nov 15, 2011 03:30 AM

                                                                                          And curiosity! Sometimes it pays to think like a five year old, what happens when...

                                                                                    2. re: buttertart
                                                                                      r
                                                                                      rainey Nov 14, 2011 05:27 PM

                                                                                      Oh yeah! I've heard it enough over the course of 4 decades of baking that I want to demythologize it as often as possible. Seen it in print. Heard it on cooking shows on TV and probably the radio too.

                                                                                      The point if valid. Utterly valid. Just not always *useful* when encouraging a generation that didn't grow up with it to wade out into the waters. ;>

                                                                          2. re: rainey
                                                                            roxlet Nov 14, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                                            I am always amazed at how people claim that things like cake mixes save time. Really, all you need to do extra is measure out some dry ingredients. Other than that, it's not so different.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                              s
                                                                              sandylc Nov 14, 2011 04:46 PM

                                                                              TRUE!

                                                                            2. re: rainey
                                                                              buttertart Nov 14, 2011 04:38 PM

                                                                              Right on, rainey! (Right as rainey?)

                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                r
                                                                                rainey Nov 14, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                                ;> LOVE it!

                                                                                With a name like rainey I've heard the same references over and over but never heard that one before. LOVE it! ;>

                                                                              2. re: rainey
                                                                                L.Nightshade Nov 14, 2011 05:23 PM

                                                                                When I say precision, I don't mean having to be a scientist or a mathematician. I just mean finding and refining a recipe so that it works well, putting it together carefully, and (as far as I'm concerned, the part that is the most fun) working on the presentation.

                                                                                 
                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                  chowser Nov 14, 2011 05:28 PM

                                                                                  Beautiful.

                                                                                2. re: rainey
                                                                                  Jay F Nov 14, 2011 06:46 PM

                                                                                  It's not generational in my case. I'm squarely in the baby boomer generation, and I grew up with a mother who hated to cook. I didn't have a cake that didn't come out of a box until I grew up and left home. My upbringing wasn't a factor, really, in my developing an interest in baking from scratch when I was in my 20s.

                                                                                  And I'm perfectly happy, btw, with the weighing and measuring you pooh-pooh.

                                                                                3. re: buttertart
                                                                                  roxlet Nov 14, 2011 04:07 PM

                                                                                  I can identify with your experience in Taipei. When I was living in Cairo, my oven didn't have a thermostat, and the temperature would continure to rise. I had a probe thermometer with an alarm and I would crack open the door of the oven to regulate the temperature. It was a major PITA, especially since there was no air conditioning in the kitchen (usually the provence of servants), and the temperature would be well over 100 degrees most days. But I somehow managed to make cakes, cookies, pies, scones and all manners of baked goods. I would bring my cookies to the club, and people would crowd around me -- they had never tasted something like that before.

                                                                                  1. re: roxlet
                                                                                    buttertart Nov 14, 2011 04:37 PM

                                                                                    I bet. I remember making bread from a Cecily Brownstone recipe from either the China Post or the IHT. And being sooo ticked off when the thing went kablooey.

                                                                                4. kattyeyes Nov 14, 2011 05:49 PM

                                                                                  I bake because someone had to carry on Nanny's tradition of baking oatmeal cookies with M&Ms at holiday time. Yes, THAT recipe from the Quaker Oats canister--except I didn't know anyone else's grandmother who made them with M&Ms. Nanny was ahead of her time like that. Love you, Nanny.

                                                                                  I bake as a creative outlet.

                                                                                  I bake because it blows my mind when I can bake something better than a bakery.

                                                                                  I bake because I LOVE SWEETNESS!

                                                                                  I bake because it's fun as hell to riff on recipes and create my own version of something.

                                                                                  I bake because it's one of life's simple pleasures to know someone special thinks my version of whatever is the best.

                                                                                  I bake because the more I bake, the more I learn and the more I branch out in new directions, away from the tried and true.

                                                                                  I bake because when I want something sweet to eat, more often than not, I make it myself.

                                                                                  I bake because nothing really says I LOVE YOU like something from my heart to yours by way of my kitchen.

                                                                                  >>^..^<<

                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                    biscottifan Nov 17, 2011 10:59 AM

                                                                                    I bake because I like to eat the results. I bake for myself and have a small and simple repertoire: almond biscotti, gingerbread cake, cherry cobbler, and a few quick breads. I like to refine a recipe so it is just sweet enough but I don't give a hoot about presentation except when I make date nut bread for our Christmas get-together.

                                                                                    I like the expectation of the finished item while I am cleaning up the preparation mess and placing the cooling rack and pot holders in just the right place and the smells coming from the oven.

                                                                                    1. Kajikit Nov 17, 2011 11:15 AM

                                                                                      II never bake just for us... I bake for the church or to give to people, and we get some of what I make. But I bake at least once a month for somebody.

                                                                                      I bake because homemade stuff tastes so good and it so much cheaper than the quality of bought stuff it would take to match it. Everyone seems to think it's some kind of magic act to bake without packet mixes (or even with them) but it's EASY!

                                                                                      I also bake because my mother would die of shock if she ever saw me eating a factory-made cake... we weren't allowed to have them in the house. :P

                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                        mamueller Nov 17, 2011 12:00 PM

                                                                                        This will sound a little strange, but I started baking when I got a great deal that I just could not pass up on a KitchenAid mixer from Amazon. So I decided to start making bread, and have been doing that ever since. Since then, I've started having my elderly father over for dinner every Sunday, and he likes dessert - so every week I'm now poring over the internet looking for something interesting to make. So now I bake.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: mamueller
                                                                                          r
                                                                                          rainey Nov 17, 2011 12:07 PM

                                                                                          Yay for you and your loved ones! Welcome to the tradition! Pass it on. ;>

                                                                                        2. j
                                                                                          jarona Nov 17, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                                                          I bake because I want total control of the desserts in my home. I love the science of baking--how each of the ingredients work in exact measurement and the timing of it and all that.
                                                                                          I also love the feel of making a dough. I love the way it starts off dry and then turns squishy..it's really a nice sensual experience, making dough.
                                                                                          I also love to bake because it is extremely therapeutic for me.
                                                                                          Plus...the end result--well, it makes me feel really, REALLY great when my family loves what I bake.
                                                                                          And...the house smells comforting.

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jarona
                                                                                            roxlet Nov 18, 2011 05:48 PM

                                                                                            I love kneading bread too! I know that no knead is all the rage, ang I make that too, but the feeling of bringing a dough togrther by kneading it can't be beat!

                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                              buttertart Nov 19, 2011 08:15 AM

                                                                                              I agree absolutely. Kneading is great. Re therapy, I find that the fiddlier the better - can't be blue for long when you get peeling and cutting up apples for a pie, for example.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                j
                                                                                                jarona Nov 21, 2011 06:13 AM

                                                                                                buttertart and roxlet...isn't it just amazing to have that feeling of kneading? I'll tell you, this has been a very stressful weekend for me. However, the most calming, relaxing and zen moment was NOT when I was ironing clothes--it was when I was making dough and kneading. I need to knead!

                                                                                                1. re: jarona
                                                                                                  buttertart Nov 21, 2011 08:21 AM

                                                                                                  Yes, exactly. The mixing is more onerous than the kneading, by far.

                                                                                                  1. re: jarona
                                                                                                    chowser Nov 21, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                                                                    And, if it's an especially stressful week, I like to make sticky dough and slap it to knead, like Richard Bertinet (about the 1:30 mark):

                                                                                                    http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video...

                                                                                                    I like to knead, I like to slap, I like the taffy pull method, I love no knead, I love my stand mixer, I love my bread maker. There's a time and place for everything.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                      roxlet Nov 22, 2011 05:16 AM

                                                                                                      I've seen that video! Isn't it so cool?

                                                                                            2. a
                                                                                              amazinc Nov 19, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                                                              I bake because, to paraphrase an old commercia,l..."Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven and amazinc"s oven says it best!"

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: amazinc
                                                                                                kattyeyes Nov 19, 2011 03:41 PM

                                                                                                Uh-oh, now the Pillsbury Dough Boy (or maybe FoodFuser) is gonna hafta come give you a smack for stealing that line! HOO-HOOOOO!
                                                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3J2jD...

                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                snax Nov 19, 2011 02:39 PM

                                                                                                I bake because I love how my husbands eyes light up as he walks in the door and says "something smells amazing, and you can smell it all the way out in the carpark!"
                                                                                                I also bake because I can make bread like my dad loves it, with a good spoon full of caraway seeds. It's a way to feel like I'm living closer to him.

                                                                                                1. n
                                                                                                  nikkib99 Nov 21, 2011 08:10 AM

                                                                                                  * I find it relaxing
                                                                                                  * It's an awesome feeling knowing I can actually make something
                                                                                                  * It helps me lose/maintain weight
                                                                                                  * It's a fun challenge

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                    roxlet Nov 22, 2011 05:18 AM

                                                                                                    OK, nikkib99, you've got my attention! Pray, how does baking help you lose/maintain weight?

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                      n
                                                                                                      nikkib99 Nov 22, 2011 06:16 AM

                                                                                                      Haha. Two years ago, I decided to really lose weight - simply put, I was obese. It was going to be diet and exercise - no pills or surgery.

                                                                                                      I was never much of a cook and definitely not a baker, but wanted to learn. 6 days a week, I ate well and exercised. On my free day, I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I made it myself.

                                                                                                      By learning to bake, I knew that I did not have to go buy a full pack of cookies - I'd just eat the whole thing. When I baked cakes, cookies, whatever, I usually have one or 2 cookies and gave the rest away. Baking kind of kept my appetite under control and eliminated the need to buy a cake and have it sit around the house.

                                                                                                      It sounds silly, but it worked for me. I lost about 130 pounds in 18 months and have maintained since then.

                                                                                                      1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                        n
                                                                                                        nikkib99 Nov 22, 2011 06:20 AM

                                                                                                        When I bake, it's not reduced fat or low sugar - it's as decadent as the recipe states. I do find I'm more critical/sensible when it comes to foods. If I have a cookie/cake that's not very tasty, I just have a bite and toss the rest.
                                                                                                        No use gaining weight on crappy foods. :)

                                                                                                        1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                          kattyeyes Nov 22, 2011 07:16 AM

                                                                                                          *applause* BRAVA! I was wondering the same thing as roxlet. :) It's not a total rule for me, but I tend to limit sweets to those I bake myself, too--like you, same deal--full fat, never a sugar substitute. I also won't waste calories on anything that's not tasty. And I try to bake half-batches where I can. That's really quite the accomplishment! Bake on, girlfriend, and keep up the good work! Another great example of EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. "Eat less, move more" works for me, too.

                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                            nikkib99 Nov 22, 2011 07:45 AM

                                                                                                            Thank you :)

                                                                                                            Isn't it funny how the French have a love for all things fatty and buttery, yet they maintain a slim figure?

                                                                                                            1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                              HillJ Nov 22, 2011 07:49 AM

                                                                                                              http://almostfit.com/2008/07/12/food-...
                                                                                                              I thought this explanation was well thought out regarding the French and their dietary choices. When you read through it, the points are really no different than any American version of the same healthy lifestyle....but the French live with style!

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                kattyeyes Nov 22, 2011 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                Great link, HillJ. And Nikki, YES! Vive la France!

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                  nikkib99 Nov 22, 2011 08:12 AM

                                                                                                                  Great link - what a nice read.

                                                                                                            2. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                              roxlet Nov 22, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                                                                              Wow, Nikkib99, you're a real inspiration. Was there any particular kind of regime you followed?

                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                n
                                                                                                                nikkib99 Nov 23, 2011 06:16 AM

                                                                                                                Thanks Roxlet. I followed my own crazy rules - Sunday-Friday was normal - eat and exercise. I tried to exercise 5-6 days a week. Saturday was my free day so I ate and drank whatever I wanted.

                                                                                                                It was during this time I actually bought a deep-fryer - what kind of diet plan involves a deep fryer? Mine.

                                                                                                                On my free days, I ate whatever I wanted - burgers, steaks, fries - but I made them myself. That's how I learned to cook.

                                                                                                                1. re: nikkib99
                                                                                                                  roxlet Nov 23, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                  Well done! The best plan is the one that works for you!

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