Sunday, June 16, 2013

From Scratch

I was chatting with some other moms the other day. We were talking about food - in particular baked goods. I mentioned that I should have had Big Little Sister bring some of the Mexican Wedding cookies she bakes. They're very tasty, and they look quite elegant.

I didn't teach her how to bake. I'm not fond of baking, and when we need contributions for bake sales, I usually depend on the local bakery to supply any confections I donate. If I deserve any credit, it's only in that I have very little fear in the kitchen and tend to be willing to experiment with and alter recipes to fit our needs and what's in our cabinets.

Last year, we needed to bring baked goods for a fancy bake sale (it's a show hosted at the girls' dance school called "The Cabaret of Sweets", and for a small fee, one gets a decadent dessert and entrance into the dance performance. It's a really good deal, and the desserts are always incredible), and so she decided to learn to make something exotic and cool. Her first fancy dessert was baklava.

I guess I didn't realize how much she liked making it ... and some how I missed all of the times she - voluntarily - went into the kitchen to make other things: brownies, cookies, sweet bread.

A few weeks ago, we were at the library, and she discovered a dessert cookbook, where she found the recipe for Mexican Wedding cookies. Immediately upon seeing the recipe, she knew she wanted to try to make them, and so she checked out the book.

I guess I never really thought a lot about it. Then, one of the moms said something about Duncan Hines, and I realized, in that moment, that my daughters are learning to bake, really bake (especially Big Little Sister, and I'm sure the others will follow suit as they get older), but they don't use boxed mixes.

Big Little Sister makes cookies and brownies, from scratch, and to her, it's just the way it's done, because that's the way she's always done it. I haven't bought a boxed mix in a very long time, but we almost always have ingredients for cookies, brownies, cakes ... and pizza crust.

As someone who grew up making homemade pizza using the Chef Boyardee boxed mixes, I think it's pretty incredible that she can cook without being limited to instructions like "pour contents of packet into bowl and add eggs." She even made a chocolate meringue pie not long ago. To me, that's pretty impressive.


  1. Baking scares the @#%^ out of most of the people I know. My kids love it. JJ especially (she would be the equivalant to your LBSIS, sneeking into the kitchen to make cookies and stuff from scratch.) My boy did a science fair project about made from scratch where he compaired cost, time, and taste for brownies made from scratch, made from mix, and store bought. Made from scratch won in all catagories except time. Cheep crap brownies premade are faster, but taste terrible. We had to do a bit of work on understanding labor hours, but it was a good project.

  2. So far, two out of three daughters are marvellous bakers, and my son cooks great dinners. I am so happy that they will be able to go out into the world with so many skills. Not only will they eat well, but they will know how to do so using the simplest, cheapest ingredients, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Priceless!
    (and also, my oldest daughter can bake the perfect creme brulee, so she will always have friends!)

  3. We couldn't afford chips ahoy growing up and it was easier and cheaper just to bake our own. That's why we did it and still do it!