During the holiday season (If you’re one of those hyper-vigilant Christians who insist on people only acknowledging Christmas, too bad, choke on your Pagan mistletoe.) people love to bake for others. Showing off their baking prowess to friends, neighbors, family and coworkers. There are many upsides and downsides to baking. Baking can be quite fun if you’re the anal type. The precise measurements, the precision timing, the alchemy of turning liquids into a solid. It can be great and satisfying. But there are a lot of perils and downsides that make me wonder if the upsides are worth it.
With general cooking there is some wiggle room, a sprinkle of salt, a dash of this a dollop of that, you can fudge a thing, throw in a different ingredient, omit a spice, use butter instead of oil and you can get away with is because cooking is an art. Baking is a science. Things have to be precise in baking. The sad part is, all that measuring, all that time, all that precision ends up resulting in two things, “Yum” and then poop. And that’s if you’re lucky. The best case scenario is “yum” then poop.
Even in the best case there is enough clean-up to match the time you took to make the thing that will take a quarter of either of those times to eat. The utensils, the pan, the measuring cups, the cooking sheet, the cookie sheet, the cookie cutters, the bindle that gives you the energy to to continue to flour the rolling pin, and the drying racks. All of that effort and the end result is mild sense of good will and labored turd.
The worst case scenarios are legion. You take all of that time and effort and someone can crush your efforts with one syllable, “Ew,” or even something mild, like “Eh.” A gesture like a hand wobbling back-and-forth indicating “it’s so-so” is enough to crush aspirations of a would be creator palate massaging confectionaries. That’s how easy it is to squash and fart on the head of bakery ambition, simply express disinterest. It takes a lot of effort to create a single cookie from scratch. It takes almost no effort to casually dismiss something. Especially with the modern trend to eschew sugar. Meaning you won’t even have the opportunity to tantalize tastebuds with your gluttonous gratifying goodies. Spurned and shunned by the physical improvement crowd, mocking your excess. Or you just end up with a pile of burned nuggets to show for all your mixing and cleaning.
The question then is, “Is it worth it?” Is it worth all of the chemistry, the cleaning, the emotional risk, just for the off-chance that you may give someone, a coworker you probably don’t even like, one fleeting moment of sweet oral bliss!?! Or is it all for the bragging rights of crafting a reputation as a necromancer of indulgences? Or do you like to make sweet things because you enjoy eating sweet things and external feedback/approval is simply a byproduct of surplus sweets?
Remember, it all becomes poop. (That’s on my family crest.)