31 May 2010

On Baking


I’m always inspired by Nigella Lawson’s firm, breezy self-assurance in the kitchen—simple, good food rather than perfection. This cake was for Saturday brunch; three cheers for homemade bagels (thanks Trini!), challah french toast and friends who bring warmth and bouquets of narcissi. Three more for sunny fall weather, rugby games and the New Yorker fiction podcast.

Cooks like ransacking the fridge and enthusiastically tossing random ingredients into a pan or a stockpot to make a meal; bakers come into their own only with dessert. I considered myself to belong to the former group. This was an accident of birth: neither my mother nor either of my grandmothers was a baker (male ancestors didn’t figure into this equation at all), and without a cozy nursery initiation into the rites of baking, it can seem a forbidding, arcane art. I am here to say the truth is altogether different. Baking is a cinch. More, it is a joy. You need know nothing to be proficient. Proficiency engenders confidence. And confidence breeds an attachment that can become habitual.
– Nigella Lawson, here via Orangette