The world of baking is a lot like the world of books– there are so many options available that it is impossible to try absolutely everything in one lifetime. But with such a rich selection at your hands, it would be shame to not even try.
Like the comfort of one’s favorite book, there are a few recipes that I continue to revisit because of the pure nostalgia they induce. But in general, I tend to crave a sense of newness and adventure when I bake. This inclination has been with me since the very beginning. The first recipe I ever chose to make was not chocolate chip cookies or vanilla cupcakes, it was a Boston Cream Pie from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I was 10 years old. Of course, being completely inexperienced in the techniques of baking, I required the “help” of my father for this daunting task (although truthfully, I’m pretty sure he made most of the cake and I helped him!). But nevertheless, it was in this first experience that I truly caught the creative baking bug.
In the preceding years, I spent hours pouring over the latest baking books, searching for the most interesting recipes I could make. I tried everything from pineapple upside-down cakes to chocolate-drizzled peppermint shortbread cookies. Despite my desire for adventure, however, I would never diverge from the recipe as it was written. Baking is, after all, a science. If you change around the ingredients and quantities too much, you will completely alter product’s end quality. As with most things in life, you have to learn the rules before you break them. And as a perfectionist and highly organized person, rule-breaking has never been my strong-suit. A diagnosis of celiac disease, however, changed all of that. Continue reading
The holidays are finally here and 2012 is quickly coming to a close. Are you as amazed as I? As I get older, time seems to be getting perpetually faster. This past year has traveled at warp speed, and it’s incredible to look back on all that has occurred over the past twelve months. We’ve seen devastation in Hurricane Sandy’s wake and witnessed history in Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting space jump; we’ve survived the nasty battles of the presidential election and viewed the wonderful victories of the London Olympics. It is clear that 2012 has had its fair share of negative and positive moments. And I’m sure your personal life has as well.
As 2012 comes to its end, however, I think it is important not to let the negative outweigh the positive.We all have our bumps along the road, and often times these bumps seem to distract us from the beauty we experience in the journey. Especially at this time of year, a time that is focused on peace and joy, we should give ample consideration to everything we are grateful for, to everything that has gone well. Remember that the holiday season is one of celebration and appreciation. So let us put aside the distraction and stress, let us put all the worry on hold and simply celebrate how far we’ve come and all that we’ve accomplished on the way. Continue reading
As any true foodie knows, experiencing food is like experiencing the world; it takes not just one sense, but a unique blend of all the senses. Autumn is not just in the changing color of the trees— it is in the sound of crunching leaves, in the feel of a chill morning breeze, in the smell of warm spices. And eating is much the same. The art of eating involves more than just spectacular taste; it involves tantalizing scent and awe-inspiring visual presentation.
I have often heard individuals say that the look of food does not matter. And to this I object. The visual appearance of a food actually intensifies the eating experience. Visual cues are often the first source of information our brain receives, and it is this information that actually primes our taste buds. When you eat a purple-colored candy that tastes like cherry, you will experience an odd sensation because the information your eyes receive (purple) does not match the taste you anticipate (you expect purple candies to taste like grape and red candies to taste like cherry). So yes, appearance does matter. We eat not just with our taste buds, but with our eyes as well. Continue reading