The Joy of Cooking

I have never been the world’s most enthusiastic cook. I cook to feed myself but have never understood the joy that people get out of cooking. To me, cooking dinner is a chore that must be undertaken. However, about a year ago I started baking. Baking was different to cooking. Maybe it is the pure self-indulgence of baking something that I don’t need in order to survive, or the achievement of creating something. Whatever it is, baking relaxes me. I get lost in the process of finding a recipe of something I want to make, gathering the ingredients, measuring everything, following the recipe and even in cleaning up afterwards. I even tend to wash the dishes by hand as that is part of the process for me (my partner thinks this is a little crazy given we have a perfectly good dishwasher!). In the last year or so I have made numerous batches of chocolate chip cookies (a favourite in our household), chocolate cakes, banana caked, slices, muffins and even an apple pie one day. One of the cakes I have made in the past that I really liked from both a cooking and eating perspective was a Raspberry Swirl Cake. Last time I made the Raspberry Swirl Cake, I didn’t ice it because it didn’t last that long before it got devoured. Yesterday however, there were strict orders that it could not be touched until I had a chance to ice it and therefore make it complete. It turned out pretty well.

When I started baking, one of the dilemmas I encountered was that my partner and I are not able to eat everything I bake if we have any intention of not ending up putting on large amounts of weight. While I do get enjoyment out of eating a little of what I bake, most of the benefits of the process for me is in the cooking itself. Therefore, over the last year, we have worked out which of our friends enjoy home-made cooking, some of whom are far too busy to indulge in baking themselves. This means, we can turn up to people’s houses or invite them over for home-made whatever and earn some serious brownie points. Not only do they think we are great but it means the baking gets put to good use without us having to eat it all. Perfect! Today we were helping some friends who have been moving house. I ducked home and grabbed the almost complete cake I made yesterday and took it around for afternoon tea. Everyone took a break and enjoyed the cake and it got mostly demolished. I left the remainder of the cake there for their kid’s lunchboxes tomorrow. The cake will get completely eaten, we didn’t have to eat it and I got the enjoyment of baking it.

So another weekend has passed and another cake successfully made and eaten and I suspect the Raspberry Swirl Cake will be requested and made again in the not too distant future.