Monday, February 4, 2019

Baking Is Love

I read somewhere not too long ago that nobody ever has to bake.

You kind of have to cook, at least sometimes or eventually.  We need to feed ourselves and our families ... it's kind of a duty, an obligation ... and most of us don't eat out for every single meal.  Even though every act of cooking is in itself a gift at some level, it is still understood that someone in a household generally has to do at least a little cooking on any typical day.

But it does seem to be at least mostly true that no one really ever has to bake.

Baking is an extra ... it's bonus ... it's a special added touch.  It could be something nice to go along with dinner, such as a fresh loaf of bread, dinner rolls, or a dessert.  It could be a batch of brownies we bake for the kids after school, give to a sick friend, or just bake for no reason at all.  Except that there always is a reason ... the reason is love.

You can crack a couple of eggs into a frying pan for breakfast, and call it good.  Going to the additional trouble of whipping up a batch of muffins, a coffeecake, or a pan of cinnamon rolls, makes breakfast extra special.  It's an act of love ... it's something we don't have to do, but something we want to do ... either just for ourselves or for someone else.

Proofing dough, waiting for it to rise, brushing it with an egg wash to make it look beautiful... rolling out pastry, cutting out cookies, assembling a pie … these are acts of love.

It might explain why bakers always seem happier than many professional cooks, too.  Have you noticed that?

Of course, there are the cooks who truly love what they do and are always smiling and pleasant or just downright giddy.  You can tell who they are … these are the chefs who display a sense of glee while putting that finishing touch on their dish or adding that little extra ingredient that sends their dish over-the-top.

Think of Rachael Ray's impish grin when she completes a menu, Anne Burrell's funny quips and self-praise when she's impressed with her own skills, Julia Child's endless enthusiasm for every classic recipe.  It's an absolute delight to watch people who really love what they do!

Then there are the ones who are always frowning, grumpy and yelling.  We'll give Gordon Ramsey a slight pass … he's got multiple businesses to run, a very stressful life, and a larger-than-life persona to live up to ...  besides, I have actually seen him smile many, many times when he's absolutely in love with a dish.  His standards are high, but he takes delight in achievement and perfection.  He truly loves cooking.

But there are those who make you really wonder why they're even in the business of cooking at all.  They're stressed, anxious, resentful, and don't seem to be enjoying themselves even the slightest bit.  When cooking is done without joy, passion or enthusiasm, it is no longer a gift but a burden.  (I'll bet these are the same chefs who never do any baking, either!)

This is where baking comes in again.  I'm sure there are plenty of stressed-out professional bakers out there somewhere (probably ... maybe).  But when we're talking about home bakers … well, again … you just don't have to bake. Pretty much ever.  You can pick up a loaf of bread, a pan of cinnamon rolls, scones, cake, muffins, and cookies at the grocery store.  You can pop into your favorite bakery anytime you want.  So, when you do bake, it's always because you want to.

You don't have to cook, either, but you do have to get something on the table at mealtime.  It's a necessity.  But bake something?  Ah, now that's voluntary and optional.  It is reserved for special times ... a particular occasion or when the inspiration strikes.

You can always run out and buy a birthday cake.  No one will ever judge you.  We created an entire business around people who would come to our store to buy that cake.  But it still doesn't lose it's sense of "extra."  Baking is always something no one has to do.  It's a perk ... a plus ... not a requirement.  It's always something special.

And when a mom or grandma turns on the oven to preheat before baking cookies with a child … now that comes from the heart … now that's love.

Bake some love today!

Happy Valentine's Day!!


Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

Romancing Your Life

Setting the scene to fall in love with your own life
Romantic Foods

Something special ...
The Romance of Travel

Falling in love with a new destination, adventure, and vistas
The Lenten Season

A reminder that accepting the challenge of self-discipline is good for the soul
New Year's Resolutions

A list of fun things to look forward to in the year ahead!
Never On The "1st" Date

Laying the groundwork for the success of your goals and resolutions
A Fresh Start

Healthful smoothies to begin the year off right!
Travel Plans

Planning some new sights and scenery in the New Year
How It All Began

The very beginnings of Afternoon Tea
Top Chef - Colorado

A celebrity in the family!
A Tale of Two Bread Puddings

So different, yet both so good!
Salty Sweets

Finishing salts on your dessert
Food Porn
It has become a national obsession ... we're salivating over food and all the food shows on tv.
A Very Foodie Town
It's almost time for Restaurant Week again!
The Problem with Pesto ...

It's so darned easy, you'll be making it all the time!
The Icing on the Cake

Does a bakery really need to make frosted layer cakes?
Baking Cakes

Basic baking tips for beautiful layer cakes
What's Your Favorite Cake?

If only I could pick just one!
Our Current Obsession: French Macarons

Light, airy, delicate pastel puffs of mouth-watering deliciousness
Ana's non-profit, Healing Warriors Program, gives away a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair!
Donate if you can!
Healing Warriors Program,
my sister's nonprofit, does very important work for our vets' and soldiers' wellbeing.
Congrats, HWP!
Healing Warriors Program received a huge honor, and we were invited to the Pentagon to see it!

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