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Add, Stir, Bake
I pour the flour into the wet batter and watch the whisk struggle to keep up with the ever-growing thickness. I always follow a specific order when baking. First the flour, then the salt, and finally the most important ingredient: baking soda. This single ingredient can make or break anything you bake. If you add too much, your creation will become like a balloon, if you do not add enough you have just created a concrete concoction.
A while back, my dad tried to explain to me how important baking soda was. After all, it does use the air, which could potentially a kill a person, to make a beautiful creation. But at the time, all I really heard him say was, “if you mess this up, it’s going to turn into a disaster.” Every time I think of adding too much baking soda, I envision a massive mush rising out of the pan threatening to engulf the oven. Thankfully, this has never happened.
I remember baking cookies for the first time, it didn’t turn out too well. They were as flat as a pancake and very rock like. At the time, I was ten years old and didn’t have a clue as to why they turned out so poorly or what each ingredient did. All I cared about was the fact that I managed to use the oven without starting the house on fire or burning myself in the process, like I do every other time. To me, the cookies were a success’, but to my parents they most definitely were not.
“Destiny, how are you mixing the butter?” my father asked one night as I was working away on a new batch of cookies.
“I just throw it in with the flour and eggs, why?”
“You’re doing a great job, but you know what would make your cookies turn out even better?” he asked. Thinking back, he sounded desperate and I can practically see my mom crossing her fingers in the background.
“But I’m following the recipe. I don’t want them to turn out bad,” I whined, desperate to return to my baking.
“Why don’t you let me show you something that I bet will make them ten times better?” My father grabbed a cup, put the butter inside, and placed it in the microwave. “This will make it easier for you to stir it and it will make your cookies look pretty.”
“Now you put the eggs in and stir them with the butter,” My father explained, “And after you’re done, you put them in with the sugar and the vanilla.”
He went on explaining what each ingredient does,
“The flour will give the cookies shape and the eggs help keep it all together. But the sugar is really special; it not only makes the cookies sweet, but it makes them darker. Which will keep your cookies looking pretty.”
I have to admit, at this point, I was pretty annoyed and unconvinced considering the fact that it was my dad teaching me how to bake and not my mom. I mean, he’s the big scary dude who uses guns for a living, and in general, dads aren’t supposed to know how to bake… right?
He passed the bowl over to me and walked away, saying he will be “back to check on me and that it was my turn to learn on my own.” However, what I learned didn’t pertain to the cookies. Everyone can cook, it’s just a matter of how good it tastes and how much effort you put into it. I believe that goes with everything. Every person strives to reach his or her own perfection. Whether it’s knitting, running, or playing a certain sport, the outcome solely depends on the effort you place into it.