Thursday, April 12, 2007

So my stomach has been a little woozy all day after eating cake batter for breakfast. Yes it is true: the Newt has tried to bake! Two of the people in my group for Creative Non-Fiction had birthdays this week, and, in a flurry of housewifely-ness/craving cupcakes, I decided to bring a little treat to class this afternoon.

Actually, I shouldn’t say “tried to bake,” because those cupcakes turned out pretty darn well, given my past baking transgressions (which include melting the entire stash of Easter candy my mother had been hiding and somehow botching a batch of cornbread such that, no matter how long I baked it, it never solidified).

See, baking is a precise skill, somewhere between art and science. And the thing is, I don’t really do precise very well. That is why chemistry experiments were not my strong suit. I loved physics, though, and, food-wise, I enjoy cooking. It is interesting, but I think that there are baking people and cooking people (these loose categories I also generalize to people who do not create with food). Or at least people to whom one or the other comes more naturally:

  • Bakers are skilled at interpreting and following the directions precisely. And a great baker gets to the point where he or she has an intuitive understanding of the principles behind the directions. However, by nature of the medium, this intuition can never be achieved without the initial precision.
  • With cookers, as with cooking, I think the intuition is the first step, and from there, the precision can be reached. The cooker imagines the dish to taste a certain way and adjusts it slightly by adding different seasonings, simmering it a bit longer, and so forth, until the food acquires the desired flavor.

Ideally, I think a person ought to be able to do both, when necessary. Although I have been training myself to be a better baker, it does not come as naturally to me.

Anyways, as I said, those sweet cuppin’ cakes turned out quite well. Granted, there was a huge range in the sizes, due to uneven filling of baking tray liners, but I can honestly say that the height variability was their main flaw. Well, that, and the fact that one of them slid off of the tray into the slush on the sidewalk as I was walking to class. No real harm done there though, since it landed face up. So, I just sneaked it back onto the tray while no one was looking.

I only wish I had taken a picture of them when I opened the microwave (the soft yellow light reflecting off of their glowing golden surfaces as they swarmed across the lazy Susan… it was quite a sight to behold). For the record, they were waiting in there while I went to my morning class so that the mice wouldn’t snack on them. Yes, we have a mouse problem. No, I did not make cupcakes in the microwave.

In other news, ugh! I had a total Chewbacca relapse earlier today. Those happen with greater and greater infrequency. Still, it makes me sigh… and want to cry a couple of tears. I know I placed an advertisement in the school paper for my dream guy, but now I don’t really imagine I’ll ever be able to trust myself to someone like that again. Loving somebody else is just a scary thing these days.

(I did not actually place the advert.)


Lauren said...

i dont know where you find those pictures, but they are priceless. although, you should have used the picture of you in your 50's garb with the pot by the stove that jakki took of you.

Beth said...

I am a baker. I stink at cooking. You are simply the best for putting that distinction into words, because it was one that was sort of kinda in my head, waiting for me to write down. Well, now I don't have to, because my sissy did it for me!

I <3 you.