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A Snippet of Cooking

The cake was Link’s idea, part of his Sunday dinner plan. He’d done most of the ingredient dumping, but felt intimidated by the specificity of the mixing instructions. I creamed the butter and sugar together, watching as these two separate textures blended into smoothness. One egg went in for a minute of mixing and the texture changed. The second egg and second minute changed the swirling mixture again. I watched and pondered the chemical magic which causes molecules to bond when mixed together in the proper order. I was taken with a desire to make more cakes, learning how to side-step those boxed mixes and start from just the separate items on my shelves. We don’t need to be eating the dozens of cakes necessary to perfect a recipe, but I had conceived a desire to master cake in the way that I have chocolate chip cookies. I shall have to try, bit by bit, over many months.

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8 comments to A Snippet of Cooking

  • It’s the focus that length of endeavor requires that I find so intimidating. Maintaining such a journey in the face of life is downright scary. Perhaps an occasion for a cake journal. Odd how such an idea doesn’t occur to me until the thirty-second year of independent existence.

    • At one point I was keeping detailed notes of various fudge experiments. Then I got too busy to make fudge for several years. The notes got lost in the interim. If I were to do it again, I’d buy a composition book which I’d shelve with my recipe books. I may do just that.

  • It’s hard for me to stay a silent blog lurker when you start talking about chemistry and baking. I love to see people catch the excitement of the world beyond the boxed cake mixes. Way to go!

    • My interest in cooking experiments is extremely sporadic. Usually it follows some cooking inspiration such as watching Julie and Julia or, in this case, browsing some of the food blogs you mentioned at lunch. I’ve book marked that chocolate layer cake you made a while back. It isn’t where I intend to start though.

  • I’m a major fan of Alton Brown and Good Eats. If you haven’t heard of him, he combines cooking and science with a little bit of Monty Python. He teaches the method behind the baking madness. Here’s a YouTube link to his cake episode, if you care to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzc9ZnJtHas

    Happy baking!

    • Matter of fact, he’s got a couple of cooking books out that deal with the science of cooking. I’m Just Here For the Food 2.0 deals primarily with cooking, while I’m Just Here For MORE Food works on the science of baking. They’re pretty accessible and a lot of fun. My wife got them for me for our anniversary.

  • Cooking experiments are what the cooking experience is all about.

  • I would love to have his books. For serious baking, though, I’d get the King Arthur Flour Baking Companion. It’s wonderful.