Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lady of the Cake

One of the things that bothers me about not being able to work outside the home is that as a homemaker, my skills leave much to be desired. Without the the pressures of work as an excuse, I have nothing to explain away my utter lack of imagination when it comes to our home and meals.

It makes me feel incompetent. And I'm not used to feeling incompetent. Allow me a moment of immodesty here to say that I was a cute baby, a smart child, a happy and well-adjusted teenager, an above average student, and a top-rated employee. And my family and friends had better would agree that I'm a good person to have in their lives. So though I may not be particularly talented in any one thing, there are several things I can do without appearing like a total idiot.

Unfortunately, cooking is not one of those things. When I step into the kitchen to cook, the results are usually offensive to all 5 senses (If you're wondering how food can sound bad, it's not the food, it's me that sounds bad once the inevitably inedible dish is finally ready). It is as if my DNA is missing some crucial cooking gene. Up until now, this inability of mine wasn't something I felt particularly bad about it. So I can't cook. Big deal, was what I thought.

But then Moppet happened and I find myself wishing that I could make her something that she would love to eat. Something that 'nobody can make like mom does'. Something that when she's grown up and away from me, she will remember fondly as mom's special.

It is particularly ironic that I should feel this way. My Mil slaves away in the kitchen all day whenever we visit and is disappointed when we cannot eat more than a quarter of what she has prepared. I have gently told her several times that we know she loves us and that the making and consuming of vast quantities of food are not necessarily indicators of love and regard. And yet, here I am today, wanting to have my child eat and enjoy something I can make for her myself, wanting it to be another special something we share.

But here is the problem. My mom and Mil are as gifted in the matter of cooking as I am challenged. Which means that whether by miracle or dumb luck, I do manage to produce something edible, it will not hold a candle to anything either of the grandmas make. So what to do?

The answer came to me a couple of days ago. Baking! That's what I'm going to do! It has several advantages. I love all manner of baked stuff. Nothing I make will be compared to what Mom makes. And since they won't be everyday items, I won't be called upon to produce them too regularly. The perfect solution, don't you think? I'm already dreaming of the wonderful things I'm going to bake - cakes and cookies and brownies, maybe even bread! So this weekend, I am going to blow some cash on baking equipment and supplies and in a week, you should have a report on how my first ever cake turns out.

Maybe when you visit next, you will be treated to some homemade carrot cake or shortbread biscuits. Then again, with my natural gift for all things culinary, they may end up being store bought, and we may be eating them by candlelight because the oven blew out the power supply. But for now, just call me Lady of the Cake! :-)

Edit: Just realised after I posted that this was my 100th post. So even if my little baking project does go bust, at least I can do a small 'yay-me' on this blog project! :-D


choxbox said...

I used to bake cakes when n3 was litle but now we have discovered this bakery in North London which makes absolutely scrumptious eggless cakes!

Can however relate to this post as I am not majorly into cooking either. However there is one thing very few people can beat me at - making thin Gujju-style phulkas and there is some god up there for sure because my kids prefer them to most other food. Phew.

But all this food talk is making me hungry! Happy Baking!

utbtkids said...

First thing first. Congrats on the 100th post.
I can cook...really well. But off late the drive is gone. So I am churning out unpalatable dishes from the kitchen. And the same thought used to cross my mind...."What food will my kids associate with happy memories of me?"
Then came to the conclusion. This is just a guilt trap. If I am a positive influence, my children will remember me even for the simple rasam and carrot curry I make.

While at baking try out


This is a huge hit at out home turf. Works well with Kissan jam.The extra dough freezes really well. So I make a double portion, shape the rest in to 4-5 balls and freeze them individually wrapped. Thaw them and use it as needed.

aargee said...

hey! congrats on your 100th post! Happy blogging!

Squiggles Mom said...

I'm going to be really mean and demotivate you :)) *chuckling*
Baking is tough especially when the damn cake has a trough in the middle!!!
BTW I'm a damn good baker *evil grin*
I'm so looking forward to all those blog posts about the errr... cakes that never were!
Okay go ahead and hit me..... I deserve it.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

OK .. Baking is a good area for NO comparisons ... but it is a not easy ... SORRY !!!
But if you want success guaranteed in the baking area, try out the Betty Crocker baking mixes and follow the instructions ... No disappointments there !!! Soon you will learn to improvise on those and put your own spin !!
Good luck !

Random Vignettes said...

oh hey congrats on the century :)
and et tu? *sighs* well hope u have better luck with the baking than I did..i used the cake I baked to bonk my hubby over the head when he grimaced at the sight of it :)

Suki said...

Learn how to bake black bread, and I will be your babysitter for a year. :D

Yay baking! It's what saves me from being a culinary disaster!

DotMom said...

congrats on the century!
I love baking and cooking (you can tell by looking at my pictures). I don't think you should feel guilty for Moppet. My mom is a disastrous cook and we never felt unloved or anything. We just tease her about it.

Fuzzylogic said...

You really are my lost twin in a real sense MM!But I will cheer for you and hope your baking ventures will be much better than mine..
Hail Lady of the cake,
let thy cakes always bake
And lots of praises may it rake:)

Moppet's Mom said...

Choxbox: That's all I want - ONE thing that's my 'mommy special'. Maybe cookies or ginger snaps or something. We'll see!

Utbt: Thanks for the wishes and for the link. It certainly does look do-able. Will try it out!

Aargee: Thank you!

Squiggles Mom: Shoo! Go away! Now!

CA: I know it's not easy - but that in itself gives me leeway if I don't get it quite right the first few times. It's when you can't even make a palatable upma or burji that your confidence really gets shot :-D

RV: LOL! It's nice to know there are other challenged folks out there. Thanks!

Suki: You bake as well? Gulp! I must up my game here.

Dotmom: Now you are in a completely different league altogether - what with the gourmet meals and baking and making pajamas. I'm not even considering any such thing! All I want is one (consistently) edible and hopefully even tasty thing that I make my way.

Fuzzy: Thanks, dear! I have a sinking feeling my baking adventures are going to go your way too....!

qa said...

Hi Moppets Mom,Congrats on your 100th.And Happy baking :) You know I could give you my brownie recipe if you want.It is pretty simple and the results were extremely good even for a baking challenged person like me.Few ingredients and amazing results....best thing about it is the ovewhelming taste of chocolate.Let me know if you want it.All the best.

Orchid said...

I guess people like us thrive on a sense of achievement..we lived on that all these yrs (i take the liberty to include myself in this category)...so you are being hard on yourself and expecting to excel..just like you did in everything else but believe me u will especially if u put ur soul into it...I mean if u have to whip up a meal like Nigela lawson, you will!! So, go bake a mean cake MM, I know you can!

And congrats on getting to 100, i've loved every post that I have read..

Timepass said...

100th post Mubarak, Moppet's Mom. Looks like I need to make a trip to ur place to taste the cake and biscuits (if little Moppet permits me to have some of course)

Moppet's Mom said...

QA: Welcome here, and thank you so much for your offer! I'd love to have the recipe, there are few things I like better than a really chocolatey brownie! Could you email me at moppettales@gmail.com? Couldn't see your profile.

Orchid: Thank you so much! Yeah, I shouldn't be so defeatist about this. I can do this!

Timepass: Thank you - and sure, you're welcome to come over anytime. Cookies and cake to be eaten at your own risk though! :-)

Sunita said...

I know exactly what you mean. Feel assured the plans works well ;). I started baking last year, and have baked around 10-15 cakes, different kinds, this year and I am hoping this is going to be my "Speciality" for the peapod. It surely is for the family, both sides, nobody's ever tried so many varieties (bless the food blogs for that) :).

Aryan's Mom said...

Congrats for your 100 post..Baking is a good art...especially for no bakers. I hope you create a master peice. "Bask the baking expereince"

Average Jane said...

Not used to feeling incompetent..yes, me too! Why do we need to be such alpha females? I need my kid to tell me I am the bestest mom, bestest ever cook and best everything else. I can't stand to be less!

mummyjaan said...

Hi, Moppet's mom.

Wow, I can totally relate to you in this aspect. I am very ...er.. umm..."challenged" in the cookery department.

2 out of 5 of my "experiments" are not very nice. I thank God for the 3 out of 5 that turn out just edible. Rarely, something turns out good (unintentionally). I try to remember what I did then. (Hubby and the kids are good sports).

If it weren't for a few simple tried and trusted recipes that don't require great expertise and yet turn out yummy, I don't know what I would do.

The good thing is, lately I have realized that I have always regarded myself as a 'winner' - so I have decided that in these couple of years that I've chosen to be a SAHM, I will improve my culinary skills. I can't live with the idea of *always* being a 'bad cook'. *gulp. So help me God :D!

karmickids said...

Hey there, congrats on the 100th post, and how did the cake turn out? As for me, my son will never ever yearn for 'maa ke haath ka khaana' I assure you.

david mcmahon said...

Carrot cake? Today? Can I come round and test it?

Congratulations on your 100th post/

WhatsInAName said...

Thats my middle name. I should have used that in my middle name tag :(

Nevertheless my best wishes! May "I" see 100s of such beautiful posts that makes me feel I am not the only one ....

lol just kidding. Congrats and if I have not already told you, I am a fan of your writings please :D

Preethi said...

Hi.. came here from Fuzzy's blog.. and I felt I was reading about myself... I am sailing in the same boat too.. so if you ever need company you know where to look :)