Saturday, February 20, 2016

You won't find me on the Great British Bake Off

On two occasions I tried making cookies from scratch.  The first time, I pushed them too far into the oven and watched them burn in the fire at the bottom.  The second time, I think something went wrong when I mixed the butter and sugar together; in any case, they didn't work.
I think I may be the only expatriate woman around here who doesn't bake.  Though I certainly appreciate my friends who do :-).  Other than the doughnuts which we eagerly buy at market each week, there is no opportunity to purchase cakes around here.
I have a couple of exceptions to my 'no baking' way of life:
A) I sometimes make 100% wholemeal bread rolls with the help of my breadmaker (which I think I may have broken last week...).  We can't buy nice-tasting bread here and packed-lunch options are limited, so it's very helpful to have bread rolls that my family will all eat.
B) If a member of my family has a birthday and I haven't managed to talk anyone else into making a cake for them, I will somehow get involved in that process.  Usually Andrew makes the cake, using a box mix with some interesting added ingredients, and I do the icing.
Yay for our dinosaur cake tin, which so far as been used three times.
This is why I don't bake:  

1) Baking is not fun for me.  I know at least some people enjoy it.  Many people apparently also enjoy other activities which require some degree of co-ordination and artistic interest; for example painting nails, putting on make-up or doing crafts.  Not me.
2) It takes me too long to find the ingredients in my cupboards.  This leads me to believe my time would be better spent tidying my cupboards (something I find more enjoyable and satisfying than baking anyway!)
3) If I took time to bake, I'd have to give up something else in my life.  I don't want to stop resting or working, and I certainly can't afford to give up tidying!
4) In the culture I grew up in, a store-bought biscuit (Americans: think Oreo...or even half an Oreo with no cream) was considered a perfectly adequate snack.  So it's hard for me to find the motivation to produce anything more extravagant for 'snack' purposes, knowing that I could just purchase a packet of Oreos (which thankfully are available here).  I'm finding there are a range of other snacks I can send to events such as school parties that don't involve baking.
5) If I attempt to bake, I end up with flour and sugar all over the place, as well as dirty pots and pans that I might not get around to washing very quickly. The number of ants, cockroaches and rats and are roaming in the vicinity, eagerly searching for food, make this particularly dangerous.

6) I already have to cook mostly from scratch, due to the limited availability of ingredients.  I don't feel the need to spend any extra time in the kitchen.

Green omelet anyone?  I don't think I'll be starting a food blog anytime soon!
So, baking can leave me 1) unhappy 2) frustrated  3) unfulfilled  4) unmotivated 5) overwhelmed with mess and 6) kitchened-out.  Rather than feeling that I should bake more, I can see now that the world (and particularly my household) is probably a happier place when I avoid it as much as possible!
Please don't think that I have a low opinion of baking overall, or of time spent baking.  I greatly appreciate the efforts of people who make the baked goods that I love to eat.  I know baking can be great way to love and bless other people.  Life would be a lot less exciting for me if I never got to eat homemade baked goods.
But that doesn't mean that I personally have to be involved!


  1. I vividly remember my mom's frustration as she baked my own birthday cake creations. I remember her angst more than the beauty of my fancy, coconut-topped, butterfly-shaped cake. This dinosaur is impressive. You and Andrew make a good team!

  2. Yes. I too have had to come to peace with the fact that I don't enjoy baking. I don't like it. I'm not good at it. I find it stressful, messy and it generally goes wrong in some way or other. Even my last attempt which was with a packet mix that really couldn't go wrong: I set the timer, but when it beeped it wasn't done so I set the timer for another five minutes. When that beeped the cake still needed a bit longer so I set the timer for one more minute . . . but forgot to press 'go'. I got absorbed in the task I was doing while waiting for the timer - for 15 minutes!!! Oh dear.
    I am blessed to live in the UK where it is so easy and cheap to get a shop bought cake. Wonderful Asda has a machine where you can take a memory stick with a photo or picture on and it will print it onto a cake. Yay!
    Clare I agree - cakes are wonderful - I just don't have to personally be involved in making them!