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Baking Should Be Sticky

Baking should be sticky. It should ooze off a spatula, splatter across a counter, drip from a beater. You can keep your nine-story, glistening, hyper-modern spaceship of a mixer. I won’t miss it. Baking isn’t perfect, pre-portioned mounds, perched in pristine bowls, shining panoramas of iridescence under perfectly predictable fluorescent lights in some neo-hipster test kitchen. I want to sweep a spoon through my baking and taste it, savoring the flavor of each imperfection I must learn to correct. Give me the unctuous golden sheen of haphazardly melted butter over those neat, sterile cubes some over-cheery food show host needs to spend ten minutes explaining the details of. Baking spills, it dribbles, it flows, it changes in a heartbeat, on a teaspoon, in a pinch. There’s no manual, no drill book. You’re not baking, you apron-clad dissector of culinary joys, you starch-collared yuppie slicing apples with your oversized scalpel. Baking isn’t test tubes and flawless products every time, if you want that, go work on an assembly line. Baking takes soul.

Baking should be real. It should be tactile, malleable, it should rise with anticipation in its covered refuge by the stove until its yeasty fingers tickle the roof of its housing. I’ll fling my baking through flour, punch it senseless, and plunge my fingertips into it, while you hold back (in case the mess ruins a perfect photo op). Screw your hot-off-the-press cookbook, its glossy pages constituting more of a self-aggrandizing tribute to its creator than promising any hope of recreation. I don’t give a damn about how you made your quadruple decker Oreo fudge pie actually, and my only wonder is who the hell you fed it to. I’ll take my baking quirky, one-of-a-kind. I want my baking to burn, to sear, until my hands are covered with the scarred-over memories of past conquests. You turn your baking into a show, a publicity stunt, a big three-ring circus just for you, but you’ve gone and forgot the most important thing. Everyone else gets to care about the end, but bakers need to care about the process.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Maybe Mr. or Ms. starch-collared, apron-clad yuppie really can switch on their Doomsday Machine by KitchenAid Max and whip up a pan of brownies with as much love, and blood, and sweat, and tears, and burns, and swears, and smelling, and savoring, and caring, as I can with my humble beater and spoon. But I doubt it.


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