Monday, January 31, 2011


Baking can go straight to hell.
I've always hated baking, but it's also always bugged me that I can never seem to get it just so.

I don't mean boxed cakes and brownies because, not to brag, but I make a mean funfetti cake. I mean baking from scratch, like my mom's Christmas cake or my neighbor's homemade fudge. I just... I can't do it. I've tried and tried but it's always in vain.

In sixth grade, I told myself I would be the queen of shortbread. I made batch after batch for these "market" things we had in math class (to learn how to use money, if I remember correctly), and everyone told me they were great. I liked the compliments, like any insecure 12 year-old, but deep down I knew they were lies. My shortbread was too crumbly. My parents bought margarine instead of butter, ruining the entire concept of shortbread. I knew I could do better.

In high school, I set out to make the ultimate oatmeal raisin cookies. However, my recipes only came from, the Better Homes and Garden cookbook, and the Joy of Cooking. I never sought to tweak these, I just rotated through the three, hoping by some miracle, that the ultimate chewy raisiny goodness would just happen. Of course, it never did. I got batch after batch of dried out, crumbly, bland starch. Once again, my deflated ego and I stepped away from the baking world.

College came, and I was determined to bake properly, but laziness generally won out and boxed cakes reigned supreme. One miraculous day my senior year, I realized I had let a big bag of apples get unattractively squishy and decided to try my hand at baking again. I made apple muffins, and they were delicious. However, I wrote the recipe on a post it that I promptly threw away.

Fast forward to current day. There was one apple in the fridge that I had forgotten about for approximately two weeks. I bought two more apples at Kroger with the intention of making apple muffins - if I was able to make them once, I could do this again. I got home from a very "meh" day at work feeling all sorts of the Mondays and I knew that a successful baking experience was just what I needed to cheer myself up.

The recipe I found claimed these were simple muffins. All the reviews were positive. They didn't take too many ingredients. All signs pointed to "YOU CAN'T MESS THIS UP!" I put on my apron for fear of getting my yoga pants dirty (right?), and got to work. I remember thinking the consistency looked off. I remember thinking there were too many apples. I remember thinking 350 seemed way low for the oven. I also remember thinking, "I own one muffin tin with space for six muffins. This is going to take forever." But I shrugged, excited for my perfect muffins, and introduced the filled muffin tin to his new friend, preheated oven.

As this is happening, I start dinner. Black beans and rice; a latino no-brainer. I can do this with my eyes closed, in my sleep, hands tied behind my back.

25 minutes later, my muffins didn't look like the ones in the picture. They were, in fact, underdone and horribly lumpy. I put them in for longer and kept checking. By the time we reached like 40 minutes, I butter&floured my loaf pan and threw the rest of the batter in.

By this point, I've become so distraught and distracted with my damn muffins-turned-loaf that I've messed up my rice. I messed up my rice. I'm so ashamed.

Right now, I'm waiting on my non-bread-looking-loaf-thing to finish in the oven. I have six sad looking we-wanted-to-be-muffins-but-we're-just-lumpy-apple-things on my counter. I'm eating my overly-sticky-yet-burned-on-the-bottom rice and beans, and weighing the pros and cons of wine vs. chocolate milk.

Baking can go straight to hell. I'll stick to cooking.

1 comment:

  1. This should make you feel better: I messed up mac n cheese last semester. What kind of retarded college student can't make mac n cheese?