Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Allie Pleiter on Overcoming Baking Incompetence

Christmas is a shameful time for us in the baking-impaired community.  I write historical novels and knit up a storm, so people assume a lot of domestic prowess on my part. 

They'd be so wrong.  

One look at the state of my oven (translation: filthy), or the last batch of cookies I made (accompanied by the time-honored justification "just eat around the burnt parts”), and the truth is out.  I can cook, but I can't bake my way out of a paper bag.  Or is that I can’t bake my way off a sheet of parchment paper?

Still, I remain a die-hard optimist.  Gadget freak that I am, surely baking competence is just a matter of good tools, right?  Every good baker I knows owns one of those massive stand up mixers.  So, when our church updated its kitchen and gave away its old mixers, I jumped on it.  After all, an appliance larger than my current toaster must surely bring success.

Well, I'll let you know.  Truth is, I'm a little reluctant to try it out.  What if, even when properly outfitted, I still can't bake?  Cooking is an art, but baking is mostly science.  And being an art person, I rot at science.  I worry that this is the equivalent of giving a math dunce a graphing calculator--it won't change much.

But if you walk into my kitchen, maybe you will be so entranced by my spiffy new mixer that you won't notice the sorry state of my oven.

It could happen.


  1. Allie, I could Bake but couldn't cook much (glad you made the distintion) People knew I could bake cakes etc. won prizes in school at the show for sponges and a few other cakes and later for cookies.
    I have a sunbeam doesn't get used much. I can do cookies the ones I do are easy ones.
    I have mastered Roast lamb this year.

    I have injured my wrist I still think breaking it would have been easier. Last week they said no break but probably tendon, around 6 weeks. today with it getting worse its looks like cartledge and could take up to 6 months to fully recover. Can I go back to last week! So cooking I think will be out now for christmas.

  2. Oh Jenny, I broke my toe over Thanksgiving so I understand how annoying it is to be injured around the holidays! Tendon, cartilage and such issues are so confounding and take so long to regain function--you have my sympathies. I guess we need to find new culinary traditions to meet our limitations, hm?

  3. Allie,
    I do ok at baking but I'm hesitant to try complicated recipes. I like short cuts! The kids and I made peanut butter blossom cookies yesterday using Pillsbury cookie dough. :) They tasted great.
    I hope your hand heals quickly!

  4. Long time ago, I discovered my husband is the better baker, so at Christmas time, he does the pies. I'm good with that.

  5. Thats true Allie, its not going to stop me trying to do the easy ones. I may use the forcer recipe for chocolate cookies as its easy to mix up and not much needing (besides i dont eat the chocolate ones).

    When I was in hospital due to my collapse and blood loss my toe was so sore the day before when I fainted the first time (didn't realise i fainted till I saw the toe the next day)I whacked my little toe and it was black and although not xrayed some of the staff said they think it was broken. I know it hurt for weeks and walking on it was painful. I hope your toe is healing. I am hoping im a fast healer and when we get the right brace for the wrist it will recover quickly. I think its doing good then I will do something and ouch I know its still bad. up early its still aver 80 out there at 2.30am.

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  7. I love to bake, but I don't get too excited about cooking. I cook so we have something to eat. I'd much rather bake a pie or cookies or brownies. I do all of those from scratch. No shortcuts there. The only thing I don't bake from scratch is cakes. Cake mixes are too easy. :)

  8. Jenny, I'm praying you heal quickly.

    Allie, prayers for your toe going up too!

    I don't mind baking. I don't do it very often. My daughter loves to bake so I let her do it. Cooking on the other hand is a chore I dread. Thankfully, my husband likes to cook so I let him do it. Hmmm, that really works out well for me. LOL

  9. Once I realized the difference between baking and cooking, it explained so much. Some people are good at both, but most usually lean toward one or the other.

  10. LOL, Allie! I'm sure that mixer will make all the difference! ;)


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