Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Occupation: Baker

I've always enjoyed baking. Well, I've always enjoyed opening a box, pouring its contents into a bowl, adding a few liquids and throwing it into the oven. That was my pre-Peace Corps idea of baking. Now, in spite of the lack of mixes and dishwashers, I find I still really enjoy baking, even if it's a bit more difficult.

I own no mixing bowls, just a pot, a frying pan, a couple cereal bowls and a small variety of cups and mugs. I have a cup measure, but the lines have worn off. I splurged on teaspoon and tablespoon measures. I'm a sucker for accuracy. For recipes, I use the internet and scour allrecipes.com or just e-mail the fount of all wisdom (my mother). I almost always have to make a few adjustments. The village tuck shop is not a great source of whole vanilla beans or coconut oil. I make do, and things generally turn out okay.

Better than okay, actually. With a little bit of free time and/or nothing better to do, I've discovered my own frostings, icings and syrups. As a result, I've discovered fantastic frosted brownies, pound cake soaked in syrup, and glazed lemon muffins. When I have less time and more fruit about to turn, I make banana bread and apple crumble, seemingly by the ton.

Of course, I've had my fair share of utter failures. My peanut butter muffins turned out terribly. Thankfully, the young neighbor kids turned out in force to polish them off. The kids are also useful when it comes to cleaning. I give them a pan glazed with brownie batter and it comes back to me in perfect condition. I give them a piece of cake on a plate and wah-la! Clean plate. I might be taking advantage of them. Oh well. They get cookies. They're pretty happy.

I hope I manage to keep up my baking abilities when I go back to the States, but the allure of the microwave may be too much for me. We shall see. In the meantime, I must go soak my pound cake.

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