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A Beginner Mother's Rough Experience In The Baking World

Am I alone in hating baking?

Food
| Soni C| UPDATED: October 17, 2017, 4:20 PM IST
A Beginner Mother's Rough Experience In The Baking World Image for representational purpose only (Photo courtesy: Reuters)
What is it with kids and baking? You may be a great cook dishing out mouthwatering delicacies, but in your kid's eyes, you are not a real mom until you bake. Blame yourself for it. Aren't you the one sitting with them watching those cooking reality shows? The MasterChef, TopChef or Cake Wars where the kids see contestants battling it out in pressure tests, coming up with exotic pastries each time. It does make them think if they can do it, so can my mom. The stories of other moms packing wonderful homemade goodies don't help either.

So to reach the pinnacle of parenting journey, you have to bake. All the pictures of perfectly baked cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and tarts looking like works of art are so daunting, you nervously take a plunge into the ocean of baking. You might think like everything else, this one too is trial and error until it turns out an error, error and more error method. First, you watch a video, print out a recipe, make a list and go to the grocer to buy the ingredients. Drifting through the baking aisle you realize there is a lot more to the simple looking ingredient, flour. It is top, bottom, gluten, gluten-free, high gluten, self-raising, Hongkong, cake, bread and the list goes on. It's not plain old all-purpose flour anymore, each flour has its own purpose in life! Sugar too has its own racial saga to tell; white, brown and much in-between. You finally manage to find those exact ingredients and return home as a triumphant warrior without realizing the real battle starts here. When you start reading the recipe, many more problems confound you. Oh the measurements, is it grams, milligrams, ounces, cups, tea or tablespoon?Along comes a US recipe that sometimes uses cup measurements for dry ingredients. Wouldn't a cup of flour weigh different each time depending on how well it is sieved, packed or heaped? To make matters worse, that gigantic American cup will have nothing to do with the standard cup of the rest of the world!

After all the struggle you somehow whip out a batter and shove it in the oven (pre-heated, mind you) and voila, you have discovered the fastest method of making coal. You are frustrated at your unintended discovery because you thought you only followed the timing as mentioned in the recipe. Well, preheated or not, all ovens seem to have a mind of their own, surely no two ovens say 180°C and mean the same.

Yeah, there is something magical about watching mixed up ingredients getting transformed into yummy goodies. But, it is equally unnerving when you have absolutely no control over the stuff once you pop it into the oven. No tasting, adjusting or modifying. No amount of intuitive genius works here. All you can do is pray. If cooking is an art, baking, they say, is a science. It is all about precision or is it? You then wonder if baking requires a behavioral trait with an element of OCD. Yeah, the level of baking skills must be directly proportionate to the degree of obsessive compulsive disorder. Behind those seemingly effortless edible works of art, there definitely are people who are nervous wrecks. In the end, you admit, it is sour grapes. You sheepishly bow down before the gods and goddesses of the baking world.
First Published: October 12, 2017, 8:23 AM IST
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