I don’t cook, well at least not in the traditional sense. I can throw stuff together that may or may not become something edible, but I’m not one to bring homemade dishes to the potluck, or brag about a fab recipe I found in Health magazine.
My grandmother made everything from scratch. Amazing pies, biscuits, roasts and beans. Flavors that would make every pleasure sensation in your body wake up…but then cooking everything in bacon grease will do that to ya. Sure she did it with love (as every grandmother should) but it was also due to necessity. There were no easy bake, premade items back then. She was also not working so she had all day to soak, prepare, rotate, and create amazing 3-4 course meals.
My mother did cook, but as food evolved and general health discoveries were made, she was able to prepare meals after she got home from work. Shake and bake and other premade mixtures freed up much of her time so that tasty dishes didn’t take hours you just had to shake and well…bake. And thanks to women’s lib, my father also cooked the occasional enchilada etc.
Enter me and my generation. Now we have “just add water” baked goods, and simply poke holes in the top and microwave. Poof, you have a quick with all the trimmings meal ready in a matter of minutes! Heck even salad comes in a bag! You would think that with such easy to prepare meals (that even my dog could do) I or my boyfriend would cook more. But no, we go out to eat almost every single day.
Since I’m not a cook, baker or even basic meal maker I don’t own many of the kitchen tools the aforementioned individuals may require. I did have a hand mixer once, but it stopped working about 2 years ago and never got replaced. Same with the food processor and blender. I have measuring cups, but the 1/4 cup lives in my dogs hard food so they are fed the correct portions.
While shopping at the 99 cent store for some holiday cheer decorations I came across these adorable penguin cupcake holders. To my BF’s surprise I bought them, along with some cupcake mix and frosting. Of course this was the ‘just add eggs, water and oil’ version of baking, but for me this was true baking.
As I didn’t have the mixer anymore I stirred it all by hand untill my arm ached, then BF continued mixing until it was fully blended. I used the mixing spoon to scoop the mix into the holders (I do at least own a muffin pan.) This was just a regular flatware spoon and the bowl was too big to pour out the mixture so it was a long, much messier process than it should have been. 50 minutes later they were ready to bake for 32 minutes.
With the frosting I thought I would get creative. I remembered I had seen on TV all you needed was a plastic bag with corners, scoop the frosting into the bag, cut a hold in the corner and squeeze the frosting in a circular motion around the top of the cupcake. This amazing, time-saving idea created the perfect look of white piles of poo, YUM. Apparently the cut I made was too big, or I simply lack the appropriate swirling skills to distribute the frosting evenly. Needless to say I ended up going “old school” and applied the rest with a knife, a butter knife.
What should have been a simplified, faster version of baking became a very long, ridiculous endeavor. Life lesson learned: without the proper tools, without basic understanding and knowledge any task can become overwhelming and tedious. At least in this case the results, though messy, were sweet!