I am not a domestic goddess. This is not self-effacing or false modesty. There are many, many things I am good at and that I love to do. Culinary creations don’t feature on that list. (Much like sewing, although that’s a story all by itself).
In my mind, I have an image of the ideal home educating mom: spending all day making clay creatures and painting masterpieces and baking perfections and sewing pretty dolls and practical dresses that will double for Sunday Best. I don’t know why I imagine this, but I really do, and no amount of self-talk will change my perspective. (I imagine. I haven’t actually tried to talk myself out of this delusion yet).
As it happens, there is a fair amount of baking in our particular brand of home education, though this could be the result of the paradigm described above. We’ve baked cakes and cookies and … well, cakes and cookies. Lots of them. We use baking as a three-in-one whammy: home economics, maths (measuring, adding/subtracting, fractions, weighing etc), and language (reading). Plus it’s fun! And really, that’s what it’s all about for me.
So today we baked once again. We’re studying trust and deception, so DD#1 read the story of the Gingerbread Man and the Fox (between cracking eggs and measuring flour and weighing sugar), while DD#2 read the ingredients and recipe steps, also helping with process of measuring and weighing and stirring. We all cleaned up and then I cut out and baked dozens of Gingerbread Men while the DDs watched the story of the Prodigal Son (deceived by people he trusted, not trusting his father – see how it all ties together?).
While I was turning the cookies out to cool I realised why it is that I am so bad at baking. (I really am, it’s totally not modest). There are a number of reasons, and here are some:
- I have useless recipe books with inaccurate proportions and half-baked (hur hur) methods.
- I don’t measure properly.
- I don’t mix properly.
- I never roll the dough out thinly enough or evenly enough.
- I don’t bake anything for long enough or at the right temperature.
- I spend more time worrying about tidying up and washing dishes than I do about the recipe.
- I don’t really care enough about the end result. As long as what comes out the other end if palatable and looks okay, I feel like it’s an accomplishment.
So now I know why I’m not a good baker, but I doubt I’ll change anything. We have a lot of fun, we always have a clean kitchen afterwards, and there are never any left overs. Perhaps my baking adventures aren’t that bad, after all …