Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why I Love (And Hate) Holiday Baking

I only wish my cookies looked like these!
For most of the year I avoid baking like the plague. This is partly because if I baked regularly I'd be even fatter than I already am, but mostly because I'm just not that good at it. My cakes always seem to come out looking like ski slopes, my cookies are all too dense or too flat and my popovers never pop. Baking requires a precision and a dedication to technique that doesn't seem to be a part of my genetic code.

Yet come Christmastime the baking bug gets hold of me and I find myself mixing, rolling and decorating, usually battling through a cloud of flour while spilled sugar sprinkles crunch under foot. With a lot of fuss and muss and a little bit of swearing like a sailor, I usually manage to put forth a reasonable approximation of Christmas cookies.

I know, you might be wondering, if I already know I suck at baking, why - oh why - would I put myself through it? Wouldn't it be easier to go to the bakery instead? The short answer is yes, of course, that would be one hundred times easier! The thing is, it would also be utterly bland and impersonal.

I may hate the mechanics of it, but I love the fact that home made holiday baking is a little piece of somebody's heart, captured in flour, sugar, eggs and butter that is meant to show their regard and appreciation for the people in their lives. To me, that is a beautiful thing, even if the baked goods themselves are a little wonky looking. This is why I happily blunder around the kitchen, scorching cookies and bungling icing every December.

So the next time somebody gifts you a homemade batch of something sugary and misshapen, don't cringe. When you open up that tin or unwrap that plate you aren't just looking at a squadron of warped gingerbread men. Know that what you are really seeing is love, friendship and good wishes, spoken in food instead of words. This even applies to that weighty fruit cake that you would rather use as a doorstop than eat. Whatever the baked monstrosity you've been given, just know that whoever baked it for you is telling you that they care enough about you to take the time and put in the effort that baking requires--even though they may have hated doing it.

The photo above was submitted to by baking_queen. For the recipe she used, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I don't really bake unless it previously had feathers, fins or a tail. But I love pretty cake stands and baking dishes, go figure. I have so much cake stands, it ain't funny.

    I agree wholeheartedly all home made baked goods are a treasure. Honestly Kelly some of the not so perfectly shaped cakes, cookies and cupcakes are my favorites. They look quirky and cute, but most of all, they look like they were hand made with love.