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The Art of Baking, with Whiskey

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A Friday of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and cake-baking

This Damsel enjoys cooking and baking. (Not because I’m trad…well, maybe it is because I’m trad. The general population of twenty-something females do not… too bad for them.) Cooking¬†and baking are such satisfying works in both tastes and femininity. It’s often difficult to find time in a busy work schedule to cook or bake for enjoyment, let alone cook at all. Luckily I have a family and mother who loves me and I rarely ever go meal-less. And even if there is time, the kitchen of a large family is rarely, if ever, absent of others. But the busy kitchen of a large family must call a cease fire when I enter it on a mission to cook or bake.

I am inspired to cook by my own love and appreciation of all things savoury. But when I bake, I am inspired by others love for sweets and desserts. I rarely bake because I long to appease a sweet-tooth – I bake because I have an innate desire to enchant the sweets pallete of others. I also love to make things pleasing to the eye. And I take pleasure in doing something extra special for a group or one person in particular.

I am a detail orientated damsel, but when it comes to food I tend to throw things together and hope it all turns into what I want it to. Of course I know¬†what I’m trying to make, but I’m not very good at following recipes. I take the general concept and start throwing things together. Measurements are uncommon in my world of cooking. And I am a firm believer in this theory, because it works for me. The art of cooking is affected by personality, nationality, upbringing, personal tastes, strengths, etc. That is why the same recipe can taste very different depending who makes it. It takes doing to know what your style is or where your strengths are.

Baking on the other hand, is very different. If you aren’t a baker, know that baking is very precise and the slightest mistake or mis-measurement can affect the entire result. In years past, the shrieks of horror from across the counter when I tossed in the rough amount of a teaspoon were many. Now I generally only bake when no one else is in the kitchen. And no one is the wiser for my measurement goings-on!

Today was a rare occasion in this large family – I found myself in the kitchen alone (kept company in part by the currently invalid youngest). Friday’s are usually my evening to relax after a long week of work, and it was the opportune time to spend an evening of baking. And so, after slipping my retro apron (I am a collector of retro/feminine aprons) over my camouflage cozies, I whipped a mixture of batter while sipping on my newest addition of Irish whiskey and singing along with Ella Fitzgerald. While the cakes cooled, it changed to Allegri’s Miserere as I sifted icing sugar and made my second favourite icing type (for alas, we were our of cream cheese!). And now that I have made one into a priestly collar for my parish priests approaching birthday, and the other is ready to freeze for next weeks bake sale, Barber’s Agnus Dei plays as I am settling down for the night.

There is something ever so satisfying and pleasurable about creating an edible arrangement. Maybe it’s my own enjoyment of deliciousness, or my love of creating things pleasing-to-the-eye, or my thrill in bringing happiness to others. But there is truly an art to cooking and baking, of which I am not yet a skilled master. It is an excellent skill to have, particularly for us traddish Catholic women who embrace our feminine role.

And some good Irish whiskey adds just the right touch to an evening of baking! (But not IN the baking… that would ruin the whiskey!)