In the world of making food, there are two main divisions: bakers vs. cooks (not that it’s a battle, although that would make a fun fight sequence). Now, there are some people who are both, but mostly people will tend toward one or the other.
I’m a cook.
I don’t really like to make cakes or cookies or things like that. When I make sweet things, they are usually:
- Pot de creme
- Creme brulee
- Ice cream
- Creme anglaise
- Candied orange peels
- Candied nuts
- Rice krispy bars*
See a pattern there? A lot of custards. Why? Because, at root, custard is a sauce. Hollandaise sauce? A heck of a lot like custard. I don’t bake so much as practice sauce management in the oven. I’ll make muffins and scones and bread from time to time, but only because I really, really want homemade stuff to the point where it overcomes my reluctance.
Candying things = simmering things on the stove. I also make a pretty mean caramel sauce, no corn syrup required. I get making sauces. Not a professional at them by any means, but I can conceptualize what I’m doing and wing it as necessary. A roux is no stranger to me.
I was walking around in a movie store the other day (with Lee) and saw a DVD for Ace of Cakes. I was like, “A baking show? Who watches a freaking baking show?!?” This, from a girl who adores Heston Blumenthal’s Heston’s Feasts show with a passion.
But, for some reason, I hadn’t realized that bakers approach things the same way, more or less, making non-dessert food that involves…baking techniques. Approaching cooking from a baker’s perspective. I know, it’s obvious, but obvious things aren’t obvious if you don’t see them, not if you can’t.
I went to one cake, two cake to look at a recipe and scrolled through a bunch of them…and noticed a pattern. Hamburger bun recipe…but not hamburgers. Savory bread pudding for breakfast…not scrambled eggs. I looked at the list of recipes to confirm it: breakfast dishes–all baking stuff; vegetables (2 recipes)–one involved baking the veg; two soups–not baking; two seafood recipes–not baking. The rest? All baking.
It’s a beautiful site, by the way, and if you like baking it will probably be fascinating; I certainly wanted to eat all of it. But I don’t really feel a passion to make any of it. If it doesn’t start with garlic hitting olive oil in a pan or carefully thickening some combination of eggs and cream, I have to work at my enthusiasm for a recipe. But, truly, that’s just me.
*Okay, thought. Rice krispy gingerbread house. Or even igloo. We’re going to try it later today.