Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There Are A Few Downfalls When You've Been Baking For Almost 40 Years

My birthday is a little over a week away. I'll be 43. When I tell people that I've been baking for almost 40 years, I can tell they're a bit skeptical. The only proof I have is this photo. It was taken in 1977 when I was 4 years old. I was stirring cookie dough in the "Chickie Bowl" with the big silver mixing spoon. To this day, this is the cookie dough recipe I use for most of my cookies.

Out of everything I bake, my cookies are what people rave about the most. I've lost count how many times people have said, "You should open a bakery and sell your cookies and baked goods." I'm not saying that to put myself on the baker's pedestal. I consider myself to be humble. I appreciate the kind words and compliments. They inspire me more than anything.

For the most part, I enjoy baking. I love making cupcakes for special occasions and cookie platters and other sweet treats to accompany meals or girl's night. I especially love surprising our dear friends with sweet "just because" confections. One of my favorite times of year to bake, aside from Christmas, is Valentine's Day. I always whip up a batch of decadent cupcakes to surprise our friends with.

My baking experience extends to creating new, homemade dog treat recipes which, in 2017, will be weekly. One of my goals is to encourage people to make their own dog treats. My recipes will be simple, inexpensive, and versatile.

Despite all the positives of baking and spreading the sweet love for so long, there's a flip and slightly dark side to earning the I've-Been-Baking-For-Almost-Four-Decades badge.

1. I'm never the recipient of Christmas cookie platters. Okay, so this sounds a bit like an adult temper tantrum, but I swear it's not. For an entire week before Christmas I see endless photos of Christmas cookies. These cookies eventually make it to Christmas platters, tubs, buckets, or boxes. There are endless photos of those too and it's always accompanied with something along the lines of, "It's time to deliver the Christmas cookies." I have yet to receive a Christmas cookie platter. Sigh.

2. On the rare occasion that I do receive baked goods from other people, the conversation starts with them saying, "They're not as good as your baked goods..." I. Hate. That. No, really, I do. At this point, I need to make a confession. Ready? Okay. Here it goes. I very seldom eat my own baked goods. True story. If it's a new recipe I've created, sure, I'll try a bite, but that's about it. You know what I enjoy the most about my occasional indulgence in sweet treats? When they're made by someone else.

3. People think I'm joking when I ask for baking advice. Our dear friend, Char, gives us a Christmas cake every year. It's dense, moist, and consists of pistachios, walnuts, and cherries. No frosting needed. It's the best cake I've ever had in my life. When Christmas rolls around, it's one thing I look forward to. If Char was to ever stop making her Christmas cakes, I would cry. I don't think she believes me when I tell her it's my favorite cake ever. And, I know she doesn't believe me when I ask, "What's your secret?"

4. I'm criticized because I don't make low fat, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, or fat free versions of my baked goods. Dozens of people have suggested I offer some or all of the above. However, I don't. I won't. Not now. Not ever. Most of the baked goods I make are recipes that have been passed down, and memorized, from generation to generation. Back in the day, people baked with real ingredients. Simple ingredients. They didn't have gluten free flour, Stevia, almond "milk" or low fat butter alternatives. While I sympathize with people who have food allergies or preferences, that doesn't trump my motto that you should never mess with old recipes. Leave 'em alone. Make 'em as is.

5. I have to bite my tongue or walk away when the word "homemade" is spoken too freely. There's a lot of words and phrases that are overused, diluted, and lose meaning over time. Love. Trust me. I'm sorry. Forgive me. I won't do it again. The word "homemade" is on that list too. Let me set the record straight. If you thaw bread dough and bake it, your bread is not homemade. If you scoop cookie dough from a bucket and bake, your cookies are not homemade. If you drop frozen mounds of cookie dough on a cookie sheet and bake, they're not homemade. If you thaw raw pastry and bake, it's not homemade. When you claim it as homemade, it's offensive to those who make authentic homemade bread, cookies, brownies, cakes, etc.

6. Witnessing the slow demise of small bakeries because of one huge mistake. In any area of cooking and baking and beverages, I've always believed that if you do one thing really, really well, stick to it. If you don't understand what I'm saying, let me ask you this...would you order a pizza at a Chinese restaurant? Probably not. If I were going to open a bakery, I'd specialize in cookies and homemade dog biscuits. It would be a human and pup cookie kinda place. I would probably do well. Although I bake a ton of other baked treats, my cookies, whether for pups or humans, are what people love and want the most of. I'll leave the bread baking and cupcakes to someone else.

No comments:

Post a Comment