WHY I AM A LOUSY BAKER
I think I’ve figured it out. I’m a pretty decent cook, or so Terry says, although what does he know? Maybe he has weird Irish taste buds (Irish, please don’t take offense, I’m Scots-Irish myself, though Terry emphasizes the Scottish part when he disagrees with me). In any case he usually eats whatever I put in front of him and occasionally murmurs, “Very tasty, my dear.”
What I am not is a decent baker. Especially of bread. The few times I’ve attempted to bake bread the results are of a density and heft that they could be used for various construction projects or, as has been previously suggested, baseball bats or murder weapons!
I was going to correct myself and say that I always make good cornbread. Coming from Indiana, that’s a must. But then I remembered I always use a mix for that and even I can’t screw up “Just add water.”
The reason is this. Baking is rather exacting and I’m a “by the seat of the pants” cook. I think recipes are merely guidelines and not rigid rules.
So, I will blithely substitute any listed ingredient I’m out of for one I’ve got on hand. Sometimes with not-so-lovely results but, after all, cooking is nothing more than a science experiment. Right? You get an outcome from your efforts but It’s not always the one you were after. Nevertheless, always interesting. And usually, according to Terry, “very tasty.”
I think this is hereditary. My grandmother used to say of her mother that she had neither measuring cups nor food scales, but she cooked by instinct. She would mix up whatever she was concocting until looked “about right.” And Grandmother said it usually was. That was the way she cooked herself and she was a wonderful cook. I do miss her cooking, especially her fried chicken. Her recipe is in The Porch Swing Cookbook.
These days I don’t really have to bake, as Niece Kelsey is fervent baker of always scrumptious stuff and she freely shares. She bakes a birthday cake using raspberries from our garden that is to die for, but she will only bake it once a year. She insists it must be made from just-picked raspberries that grow just outside her kitchen window. Fortunately, this happens on my birthday. I’ll share the recipe for that one later.
Right now I’m going to share a recipe that Grandmother frequently made and it is truly idiot-proof, as it comes from the Bisquick box. Even I can make this one. Grandmother nearly always made things from scratch, but once she discovered Bisquick, she never looked back. She often served this to her pinochle club, and she said the great sighs of satisfaction told her it was successful.
Idiot-Proof Coffee Cake
1/3 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbs butter
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
2 tbs milk
2 Tbs sugar
Heat oven to 375 (F) Grease a 9-inch round pan. In one bowl mix together the streusel ingredients and in another the coffee cake ingredients. Spread coffee cake in pan and sprinkle with streusel. Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
If you manage to mess this one up, don’t come to me!