Like a lot of people, I bumped the "December" posting/talking meme to January...and now it's February. But I'm starting! Yay? (Scarily, I still have notes on a few topics from prior years that I didn't get to but would still like to write about. But let's see if I can clear the most recent handful first.)rilina
asked me to talk about baking.
For years, if the subject of how scruloose
and I divide up household chores came up, one of the things I always said was that he cooks and I bake. For a period of several years, I baked often enough that it was just something I did--not really a hobby, but also not something I did often enough for it to be a chore.
I love reading recipes. Back when I had the day job that I ultimately quit to freelance (by which you can guess how little they paid me, because I promise you freelance manga work does not pay well), I had tons of idle time but nothing visible I was allowed to do to distract myself, and I didn't want to log into whatever social media accounts I was using at the time (which probably just means Livejournal), and somehow--possibly through oyceter
, whose foodie posts are definitely what got me interested in reading about food
--I stumbled over a couple of cooking/baking blogs. I read through their archives. I followed links. Eventually, by the time Google ditched Reader, I was following over a hundred of them (on top of however many other
kinds of blogs--I've pretty much always been a link hoarder); I never really found a replacement, so I drifted off, but now instead I have a horrifying number of cookbooks that I read instead of using (and I still tend to get linked to and download a few new recipes a week).
Because I have a major sweet tooth--not helped by liking to nibble on something when I have tea--the bulk of the things I read (and downloaded) were about baking, and it's probably around the time of the blog-reading that I baked most, other than at Christmas. (Christmas baking was its own thing for years, until Casual Job basically demolished my ability/energy to do much Christmas prep at all. Here's
a December 2014 post linking to some of my very favorite Christmas cookie recipes.) I made things to take to social gatherings, and routinely made muffins for my breakfast, and whatnot.
But it's pretty thoroughly fallen by the wayside at this point. I still vastly prefer homemade baked goods to store-bought, but there are several factors at play:
and I are a household of two, and he's not all that into sweets (and his tastes in sweet things are different than mine, no less).
2a) Kas bakes often and marvelously, and shares the bounty of his labors, so there are frequently tasty things in the house without my making an effort. (Ginny and wildpear
are also great bakers.)
learned to make rocky road/confetti/whatever-you-call-them squares--mini marshmallows held together in melted and cooled chocolate and peanut butter--and is often willing to make them for me. (I deliberately resist learning because I would make them ALL THE TIME.)
3) Baking makes me anxious. Not terribly
so, but I'm always triple-checking every step of all but the most familiar recipes, and a bit worried about screwing it up (which has happened*, but it's been rare), and it's just...not relaxing for me the way it is for a lot of people.
And yet for a long time it was part, if a small part, of my self-image, and other than the fact that it's a bit stressful, I do like doing it. Other than occasional experiments at holidays, I tend to be into making simple things: cookies or squares or "everyday" cakes, things that don't require fussiness or decoration. Cookies and squares and muffins and such get the most love because a bit of my anxiousness is soothed by being able to taste the result before I offer it to anyone. Usually a taste of the bowl scrapings is enough to be sure that the finished product isn't horrible, but you never know.
I keep thinking I'd like to get back into it, but none of the reasons I got out of the habit are likely to change, so I'm not sure how likely it is.