The Baking Powder Project

Living my creative life is near perfect. Birds sing while i paint & draw in a sunny window, i sip coffee while plotting my rising career on the telephone. Dinner is on the table promptly at 6pm every evening and my 4-year-old even sets the table carefully…..

NOT!!!

C’mon now, you didn’t think everything in my life was artfully refurbished chairs, and adorably paint-stained overalls and such, did ya?

The truth is, that while my life IS highly creative, i mainly work to my strengths. i paint a lot. i draw. i work on home improvements. i sew and make a pretty stellar Halloween costume come to life each year. But outsiders only see those things, the best foot that i put forward.

Let me assure you, the things i do NOT do well could fill a coffee table book thicker than my portfolio. And i think that’s true of all of us. i mean, nobody can be amazing at everything right? There are way too many skill sets in the world to be mastered and not nearly enough hours in the day or inclination in our hearts to do so! But in the interest of full disclosure of my own creative shortcomings, i want to share with you my most miserable domestic failing.

Its chapter in my coffee table book is titled “Cooking,”

Now, i can make a yummy chocolate chip cookie and i’m not bad at cake decorating. But other than that, i have no business being in the kitchen. i readily admit that my husband actually bakes my cakes for me most times, and he pretty much handles dinner around here as well. But in an effort to expand my creativity and try to learn a little something outside my comfort zone, i’ve taken on a little project.

It’s called the Baking Powder project.

Why baking powder? Well, because i’ve never owned any of the stuff in my life and just recently had to buy a canister to attempt biscuits from scratch. (i was forced into it! don’t ask.) And now that i have a big ol’ canister, i thought i may as well start using it!

Baking Powder is a pretty unique muse, i think.

i’ve learned a lot about what not to do, as in the case of my attempts at pie pastry (disaster) and scones (more like ankle weights). But we won’t talk about that. Hey, i’m trying! My biggest success so far has been pancakes from scratch, which, to be honest, i didn’t even think existed. Everybody uses Bisquick, right? Right.

Well, i’ll tell you. My family agrees that my effort produced the “best pancakes ever!” i was so proud! i even dusted off the empty recipe card box my mom had given me many christmases ago and wrote out my first recipe card!

The lesson here? Creativity is completely relative. These pancakes are the height of true creativity for me. i created them, from nothing. Cool! i mean, my artwork is an extension of me. i barely think about it when i’m doing it. But the pancakes took effort. It might be the exact opposite for some of you. It’s all relative.

Allowing my little yellow can of Baking Powder to be my muse, my motivation, has provided me with a new outlet for creativity. i think it could work for anyone. What would your muse be? A tube of oil paint? A new set of rubber stamps? A stenciling kit? It’s pretty fun to find out! i highly recommend it.

For me, i’ll still let my husband make dinner every night, but whenever he gets a hankering for pancakes, watch out!

baking powder graphic courtesy blisstree.com

9 thoughts on “The Baking Powder Project

  1. I think cooking is inherently creative and magic and maybe heading towards a bit of alchemy in the transformations that occur–but, then, I was a chef for a while :)

    Good for you for branching out and making friends with the baking powder! It’s a fun little thing if you realize that there’s 2 parts to it’s mystery–the first part acts when you combine it with liquids and the rest of the ingredients, the second act comes with the application of heat and–boom!–liftoff! The trick is to not let too long go between those two actions or the second one might fizzle a bit.

  2. Couldn’t agree more! I am no good at cooking, and I would say that’s mostly because I hated chemistry. My boyfriend takes care of actual cooking, and I just obsessively organize/decorate the kitchen!

    I do things very much the same way though. It’s great to have things around to contemplate and one of these days you’ll have a great idea or breakthrough. I have a neat old mid-century cabinet I haven’t quite decided how I want to reinvent that I look at daily. One of these days I know it will hit me!

    1. “My boyfriend takes care of actual cooking, and I just obsessively organize/decorate the kitchen!”

      Yeah, that’s pretty much how it works with my husband and me. It’s not even that I’m a bad cook, I’ve made some decent meals in my day… it’s just that he’s SO much better at it than I am that most of the time it’s easier for me to take care of the cleaning and let him worry about the cooking. Our house is cleaner and our meals are tastier that way. :-)

  3. I think it’s all about experience. I’m sure your first sewing project wasn’t amazing either! You have to experience and get your hands dirty to get good at something – and not be afraid to have one of your creations be a total disaster. That’s how we learn! Good for you for making pancakes :) keep trying!

  4. I read a story some 10-15 years ago about an apple pie baking contest in Vermont or someplace.

    The winning team was three women aged something like 98, 99 and 102.

    Perhaps an urban legend… but the principle rings true.

    Pastry, and pie crust in particular, is *hard*.

    If you’re like me, you naturally gravitate to the hardest thing there is to master, with the highest failure rate.

  5. Hilarious and well-written! You’re right — sometimes it’s good to talk a little about our shortcomings so that it’s not fluffy-shiny-I’m-so-perfect blogging all the time!

    I’m actually pretty decent at concocting in the kitchen… but flash a recipe in front of my eyes, and my toes curl. So yes, basically anything that involves Baking Powder makes me cringe… because it has to be *gasp* measured. I try once in a while to venture into baking, but whipping up haphazard stuff is always easier. I think my muse would probably be measuring spoons, ha!

    So uh… are you going to share this recipe with us???

  6. Look at the baking powder as one of the mediums you use in a culinary masterpiece…sometimes you mix a color or do a sketch and it might not work, sometimes it is perfection. Same thing with baking! I think what makes you a great artist is your ability to try mixing things that others might not think of, I have a feeling that with a little experimentation it will translate into the kitchen too :o)

  7. I get your point & I generally try and spend most of my time perfecting what I’m good at too, but if you ever want to give that homemade pie crust another shot here’s the most simple, straight-forward recipe that I could come up with;

    http://weirdandwoolly.posterous.com/perfect-with-a-little-practice-pie-crust

    The worst you can do with this recipe is make an ugly looking/great tasting pie crust. Even if it doesn’t come out perfect, it’s always a huge hit!

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