Hmm, let’s see here. I’m 47 and have been cooking since I was about this tall. But as close as I’ve ever come to baking was helping my grandmother and uncle at a tender young age. Sure I’ve put together maybe 2 batches of cookies and there’s one wheat bread post here on Meathenge proper since then. But I’ve always been someone who stoutly vocalized, “I am not a baker!” For me, cooking and baking are not the same. I do not enjoy following recipes, exactly. And brother? For baking, there are rules.
This Meat Enthusiast was laid off after 21 years this last July. Nah, don’t cry for me. No love lost there. It has given me some much needed time to rethink my self proclaimed status of a non-baker. Today I consider myself someone who has embarked on a lifelong journey in to baked goodies. And what better way to start off on such a journey, than cookies? Banana bread? Eh?
I can still remember my grandmother and uncle giving me a few pointers about measuring dry goods, bringing unsalted butter n eggs to “room temperature”. So, armed with that knowledge and a few copies of The Joy of Cooking, I’ve been making a wonderful mess in the kitchen. And you know what? I’ve been nailing the recipes! No burning, great crumb, moist n rich, perfect in every way. Nestle’s bitter-sweet morsels fell very short of my adult expectations though. They were quickly swapped out for the Ghirardelli counterpart and promptly scored a 10.
No recipes today, no special procedures. Only a nudge to consider knocking out some baked love while the smoker or grill is hard at work in the blustery fall weather. The smell of fresh bread wafting from your oven has a very similar effect that bacon and burning mesquite does.
ps – I did end up having to buy a thermometer for the oven. A baked chicken doesn’t care much if it’s roasting at 450 or 475. But a cookie does, a loaf of bread does. Must have an accurate oven brother man.
Now you have new family to bake for! The house smells so good when the oven is full of baky kind of stuff. Well not as good as a pork roast.
Hey Biggles- sorry to hear about the job loss, but transition can be a good thing, other than the “I don’t have any freaking money” part. Having been through that in the last few years, it sure looks good in a rear view mirror.
Happy baking! My banana bread recipe is good, if you’re looking to tweak a bit: http://www.thepragmaticchef.com/archives/2005/11/tpcs_banana_nut.html
Thank you both! It’s been great. Yesterday I made a loaf of really good white bread and simmered a pot roast for about 5 hours. Talk about wafty smells of love! Freakin’ amazing all day long. It’s good.
Mmmmm, bread smells…
I am bakng bread just for stuffing.
That is some righteous-looking banana bread!!
I would say that I started out a baker. But I’m a rebel baker. I don’t like to measure except for the first time in making a recipe. While baking can be unforgiving, there is still some fudge room in there. Back when I was in high school, my grandmother gave me her recipe for teacakes. I have since passed it on to other family members. Thing is my grandmother measured everything exactly — all that leveling stuff that I threw out the window years ago. Once I know a recipe, I pretty much bake by feel. And my relatives to whom I’ve given the recipe? They say that what I make tastes like my grandmother’s while mine doesn’t.
I think you’d make an excellent baker. You understand food and flavor. The only unknown is leavening agents. Believe me. You’ll quickly get a feel for them.
Oh and overjoyed to see you back.
Thank you! It’s good to be back and hopefully the roll will continue. I’m home full time now, for now anyway, and have an entire new family to cook for. Last night was chicken gumbo!
Hip to the baking variances, not sure how they will pan out for me. I need to keep steaming full ahead, get comfortable, then start screwing with things. I can hardly wait. Have been feeling a need to learn how to make scones. I have all the ingredients perched and ready. Just need to get off my lazy ass.