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Why Real Baking?
Posted: 03 February 2010 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Annie,

Why don’t’ you post it on the forum.  I would be interested in reading about your experience too!

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Posted: 03 February 2010 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Thank you all for sharing such amazing stories!

My love of baking came from my dear Nana, my fathers mother. She lived with us and was a wonderful baker, but for what ever reason my mother didn’t want her baking much in the house. So we always had these store bought pies, ice creams and rarely a cake. Nana would cringe that we ate this ‘garbage’ as she was from Austria and had been cooking and baking since she could walk.

At 8 years old I asked Nana to help me make a cake for company my parents were having for dinner. I picked a tomato soup spice cake out of a magazine, and Nana told me what each thing meant, and stood back as I mixed it up. Before I could put it in the pans, she made me taste the batter, a habit I have to this day, and I almost became ill! Nana tasted it too, and discovered I used 1/4 cup instead of 1/4 teaspoon of salt! I finally baked the cake with the correct ingredients, and was so proud of how it looked and how the house smelled when we were finished. To my horror when I tasted the cake, I still thought it was awful. I had never tasted spice cake before and for a little girl of 8, I so wanted a ‘regular’ cake. I pretended I wanted to eat my cake outside, and threw it down the sewer drain!!

But, I became addicted and from then on I was always baking and learning as much as I could about baking. I have my 31 year old worn out Joy of Cooking, Julia Child’s Cook books, and I bought The Cake Bible when it first came out. When my kids were growing up, we hardly ever had store bought products, and I remember my son telling me one day he wanted the cookies like all the other kids had…meaning the store bought ones. So I stopped baking cookies except for special occasions. Beginning in HS, and when they were home from college both my kids worked in our towns best bakery, and for years I didn’t even have to make a cake because they would get it there. I did continue with bread baking, but recently began baking other products again and am happy I found this sight.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I grew up in a home where snacks, cookies cakes, most of our food, were not purchased already prepared, but made from scratch. Of course, this was back when not as much food was processed as it is today. My mom grew up in India and didn’t learn to cook as a child because her home employed a cook and she went to a boarding school for most of her school years. When my mom moved to the U.S. to marry my dad, she really didn’t know how to cook, but my dad’s mom, who was born in Germany, taught her cooking basics. She must have been a good student, because we always had nourishing, healthy food at home.

My first food memory is sitting on our door step when I was 5 years old with my younger sister, my mom sitting between us. She would put a spoonful of soft-boiled egg with buttered toast in my mouth, then give a spoonful to my sister. My first baking memory is making brownies, using one of my mom’s cookbooks, probably Better Homes and Gardens. Our cookie jar, the big apple one, was always filled with oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies. The earliest photograph of myself is of my first birthday, with me sitting in front of my birthday cake, no doubt made by my mom.

Joy of Cooking, my first cookbook, was invaluable to me. I purchased many more books, finally buying The Cake Bible 20 years ago. Cookbooks, Bon Appetit magazine and Gourmet magazine (I miss you, Gourmet!), have been incomparable teachers, helping me build upon the skills I learned from my mom.

Recently, I spoke with my mom on her birthday about how much we both love to bake. I told her about baking carrot cake and Nobby Apple Cake, both recipes she gave me. She said she always liked to eat treats like cakes and cookies, and didn’t see any reason why she couldn’t make them herself. For someone who couldn’t cook until she married, she did a great job of instilling the love of cooking and baking in me and my sisters.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Annie - please post your tempering technique on the forum. I would love to learn about it too!

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Posted: 03 February 2010 07:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Hi Annie,

I PM you.  But it would be great if you could post your experiences with chocolate tempering machines for anyone else to see.  I hope I am not the only one who just can’t seem to temper chocolate.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Yes, Annie, I would love to hear your technique, I know you produce hundreds of artisanal chocolates every year, if anyone has great advice, it’s you!

Gene, I loved your story, fresh warm bread and freshly churned butter, I could smell it.

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Posted: 03 February 2010 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Matthew - 03 February 2010 07:58 PM

Annie,

Why don’t’ you post it on the forum.  I would be interested in reading about your experience too!

Ditto

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 05 February 2010 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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My mother’s mother didn’t like to cook, and so my Mom didn’t have much cooking experience when she married my Dad. His mom was a great cook and generously shared a lot of her knowledge and recipes with Mom.

I remember when my paternal grandparents came to visit, we would all ask Grandma what cookies she had brought along!

We had a huge sour cherry tree in our back yard, and every year we would pick, pit, and freeze some of them. Grandma taught Mom how to make a great cherry pie—I remember “helping” with that back when I was too young too really be helpful! We loved rolling out the left-over pie crust scraps and making pie crust cookies out of them.

During college, I shared a house with a bunch of other people and we had a tradition of having waffles every weekend. I still have that same waffle iron and my husband and I still make waffles almost every Sunday. That’s a good memory!

I learned some of my cooking from Mom but a lot from cookbooks and from the various folks I lived with over the years. A couple of my specialties are fruit pies (based on my Grandma’s recipe but much adapted) and cornbread (again based on my Grandma’s recipe). I didn’t get into baking cakes until recently, when I discovered The Cake Bible.

All 4 of my grandparents and both my parents had degrees in science or engineering—as do I—so being interested in baking science came naturally!

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Posted: 05 February 2010 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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This is a wonderful thread! What great stories! I, too, read cookbooks like novels.  My passion for baking began early in life.  I was the only kid in the family who would sit and ice the cookies that Mom made for Christmas.  My true love for cake started several years ago.  Five years ago, I took a decorating class, and I was hooked.  Since I acquired TCB; I have been totally engulfed in changing my ways of baking and icing cakes.  No more shortening/butter mix buttercreams for me!  Mousseline all the way!

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Posted: 05 February 2010 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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cyndy40 - 06 February 2010 02:14 AM

This is a wonderful thread! What great stories! I, too, read cookbooks like novels.  My passion for baking began early in life.  I was the only kid in the family who would sit and ice the cookies that Mom made for Christmas.  My true love for cake started several years ago.  Five years ago, I took a decorating class, and I was hooked.  Since I acquired TCB; I have been totally engulfed in changing my ways of baking and icing cakes.  No more shortening/butter mix buttercreams for me!  Mousseline all the way!

I went to bookstore today.  TCB and RHC have totally changed the way I look at baking (cook) books also.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 06 February 2010 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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i love all your stories! did i mention that i loved reading mfk fisher and wanted to be her? when i was in my last year of university, taking the last course for my master’s, which was food writing, taught by the then chairman of the dept. henrietta fleck (i’m not making this up!). we each had to tell the class what was our dream to become. it was all women and each seemed to be dreaming of becoming a nutritionist at a reknowned medical center so when she got to me i didn’t dare admit what sounded a bit frivolous if not utterly self indulgent. i said: “there’s no point in saying what i dream of because there’s no hope of my ever getting to do it.” could i have provided a better object lesson? dr. fleck rose up (metaphorically) and said: “why rose, there has to be someone to do everything—why shouldn’t that someone be you?!” so i owned up to my impossible dream of eating around the world and writing about it and there were gasps around the room.

i sent my first published story in the new york times “eating dessert in tokyo” to dr. fleck who by that time was retired and living back in kansas.

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Posted: 06 February 2010 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I started baking in junior high or high school. I loved making desserts - baking always seemed like alchemy to me. Taking dry things and wet things, putting the wet mixture in the oven and transforming it into cookies and cakes was just magical. At one point I wanted to become a pastry chef, but that wasn’t in the cards. Baking is still magic for me, and doing it will always get my adrenaline pumped up, or, perhaps, put me in a meditative state. It’s good for my spirit. I’ve never baked from mixes. I made the spice cake/peanut butter frosting for a potluck last fall. One of the people asked if it was a “box cake,” because if it were, she wouldn’t eat it. I had to ask her what a “box cake” was! Beth

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Posted: 06 February 2010 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Rose Levy Beranbaum - 06 February 2010 07:25 PM

i love all your stories! did i mention that i loved reading mfk fisher and wanted to be her? when i was in my last year of university, taking the last course for my master’s, which was food writing, taught by the then chairman of the dept. henrietta fleck (i’m not making this up!). we each had to tell the class what was our dream to become. it was all women and each seemed to be dreaming of becoming a nutritionist at a reknowned medical center so when she got to me i didn’t dare admit what sounded a bit frivolous if not utterly self indulgent. i said: “there’s no point in saying what i dream of because there’s no hope of my ever getting to do it.” could i have provided a better object lesson? dr. fleck rose up (metaphorically) and said: “why rose, there has to be someone to do everything—why shouldn’t that someone be you?!” so i owned up to my impossible dream of eating around the world and writing about it and there were gasps around the room.

i sent my first published story in the new york times “eating dessert in tokyo” to dr. fleck who by that time was retired and living back in kansas.

It is fabulous to dream big and believe and to have someone to believe in you.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 06 February 2010 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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knit1bake1 - 06 February 2010 07:37 PM

I started baking in junior high or high school. I loved making desserts - baking always seemed like alchemy to me. Taking dry things and wet things, putting the wet mixture in the oven and transforming it into cookies and cakes was just magical. At one point I wanted to become a pastry chef, but that wasn’t in the cards. Baking is still magic for me, and doing it will always get my adrenaline pumped up, or, perhaps, put me in a meditative state. It’s good for my spirit. I’ve never baked from mixes. I made the spice cake/peanut butter frosting for a potluck last fall. One of the people asked if it was a “box cake,” because if it were, she wouldn’t eat it. I had to ask her what a “box cake” was! Beth

It is good to meet someone who appreciates the difference.

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So many recipes - so little time.

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Posted: 06 February 2010 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Gene, Livingston is a beautiful place, do you ever get there now?  We have a home in Montana City, and drive the 9 hours from here in the Black Hills about 6 times a year, passing Livingston.  It is a great town, and quite beautiful and quaint, as are all the Gateway Cities.  The Murray Hotel has a lot of charm and a very good restaurant.

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Linda R.

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