To cook or to bake that’s the question
I once got asked what I liked more cooking or baking. It’s a really hard question for me. I grew up with a grandmother who was an incredible baker, she was just so skilled. I remember being in her kitchen, playing with flour, just watching her. So I guess in a way I had an earlier connection with baking than with cooking. But I turned vegetarian at a very young age in a meat eating family, so that called for some action from my end. I started cooking my own invented meals in my early teens. My dad also was an incredible chef, so I do feel it’s in my blood a little. My dad was also a cook AND a baker, highly skilled in both, I like to think of myself similar to that. I don’t really have a preference, I love both. BUT listen up people baking is freaking hard!!!!!! There’s so much more skill, technique, food science and maths required when it comes to baking. In my opinion, baking is way harder then cooking. If you screw up one little thing in baking you usually have screwed up the whole thing, where is in cooking you can screw up but still get away with it somehow. Baking is a trade, a craft on its very own.
My love for baking and cooking is huge though, I could never be a fully raw chef nor would I want to. I love cooking and baking too much. I do make raw cakes and raw food but my repertoire is very much filled with baked and cooked goods. There is a significant difference for me though in how the two make me feel. Baking always makes me feel like a mum, like one of those women in the vintage posters with the pretty apron on while humming songs of the good old days. Cooking makes me feel like a pro. Like nothing else exists but me and the food, fully focused, in the zone, more like a ninja. That to me is the difference.
Baking somehow feels more domestic. Having expertise in both helps a lot. I feel it makes me a more all round chef. There’s plenty of people who are amazing bakers but terrible cooks. Because and here is my point they really are separate entities. Two different worlds, brought together only because they share the same environment: a kitchen. So to come back to the question both. I love both. I feel I have developed a lot in both, where I have learned the most though about the technical, scientific side of being a chef is definitely in the baking department. What about you dear reader? Do you have a preference? Whatever it is, one of the two, or both, embrace the joy of being in a kitchen. Spread your love and joy in those cakes and beautiful meals. For me the kitchen is my natural habitat, the place I belong. My stage. My world. And no matter what I do in it, I’m just happy to be there. I love what I do, I hope you do too!
2nd picture by Fred Madeira