I've been crazily pulling together collections of my Christmas novellas, including a couple that have never been digitized before, so I decided to exercise Wench Prerogative and recycle an older blog with a bit of updating. When I wrote the original of this blog, it was almost Thanksgiving, so it did seem appropriate.
I’d been ruminating on the differences between being a good cook and a good baker, and Thanksgiving is a good time to talk about that because family feasting is in the air.
Most of us know the basics of cooking and baking, but mastery of the two skills does represent different personality types. A cook can be more improvisational. If you lack mushrooms for that interesting chicken dish, you can probably do without, or maybe substitute bacon bits or something quite different.
Bakers, however, can’t generally improvise as much, at least not without courting disaster. You can add chopped walnuts to a cookie recipe and it will probably be just fine, but fail to use have the basic ingredients—flour, eggs, baking powder, et al—and use them in the right order, may give results that aren't pretty, much less edible! So following a recipe fairly carefully is advisable for baking, especially something complicated.