Daily Archives: December 22, 2006

Baking is different.


In order to understand the significance of this post, you have to understand what happens when I cook. I can explode eggs. I can cause large columns of flame to erupt from frying pans. I could burn water, or at least melt cooking pots. Etc. I literally can’t cook to save my life, and I can screw up nearly anything. I have been banned from kitchens, both officially and unofficially, and technically I’m considered too dangerous in the kitchen to cook without supervision (and too unskilled to cook much at all).

Apparently baking is different.

Swedish tea ring

I made that this morning. When I say I made that, I don’t mean that I directed staff to make it, I mean that I made it. It is the third time I have ever baked anything in my life (and the first was also one of these, that turned out just as good, although this year I left off one of the icings because it was way too rich).

It’s a tea ring. My great-grandmother’s recipe. I was raised being told it’s Swedish, although I’ve heard of similar things from Norway and Germany (and of course Minnesota).

It’s a little bit uneven because my staff hadn’t bought all the ingredients, so she had to run out to the store for raisins, and the dough was trying to rise before it was supposed to, and I was in a hurry and couldn’t make it as straight as I wanted to. But otherwise it turned out well, and tastes good too. (I want to try making another one with all the ingredients around so I don’t have to rush.)

It seems that my horrible cooking makes an exception for baking. I’ve so far made three things, but several people have told me that the things I’ve made have seemed more like I’d been baking a long time. So I might finally actually have a useful skill popping up out of nowhere for once.

I’m assuming it’s related to the fact that there’s not as much time pressure and weird touchy things-have-to-be-just-right-at-this-moment bits when baking as when doing normal cooking, and to the fact that the more physical aspects of baking seem to resemble construction or sculpting projects more than they resemble cooking projects. But whatever it is, I’ve just been handed a recipe for dinner rolls from my neighbor and told to make them for us.

(Edited to add: She told me to edit this to tell you that the dinner rolls turned out really good.)