I rarely talk about food here, and only share recipes during my annual Christmas Open House. The main reason is that I'm not really wild about cooking. What I am wild about is baking, but I pretty much never bake. Why? Because 1) Mr. Wonderful is in the military and has to remain trim; 2) we're both in our 40's and can't eat whatever we want anymore; and 3) baking recipes are notoriously hard to scale down to just two or a few servings.
Now generally speaking, I am a food-as-fuel kinda person. I am most definitely not a "foodie." I am not a gourmet, or a food snob. I like old-fashioned plain cooking that fills me up and gets me down the road. I am amused by plates of tiny food that look like sculpture and are artfully drizzled with stuff and garnished with weeds. But baked goods... there you have me. This sign hangs in my kitchen:
I have a sweet tooth, but not the kind that compels me to devour an entire package of cookies by myself. I get this trait from my Granny, my dad's mother. She was small and thin and ate like a bird but she always needed "just a taste" of something sweet after a meal. That's me. Just a taste. It doesn't make sense to bake a full-sized cake or three dozen cookies when all you want is a taste. Therefore, no baking. Sad.
Sometime last year, I ran across a copy of America's Test Kitchen magazine, Baking for Two. I bought it and a whole new world opened up before me (I may have heard angels singing). It was full of scaled down recipes for everything, from tiny 6" cakes to even tinier and more adorable 5" loaves of quick bread. The articles that accompany the recipes explain the trials and errors of scaling down baking recipes, with explanations of why it's not as simple as merely cutting all the ingredients in half. Fascinating. To make a long story short, I made a list of the tiny bakeware I needed and Santa delivered.
I threw the peppermint sticks in there for scale. These are tiny. I was beyond excited. While I was making my Christmas list of tiny bakeware, I ran across this book and added it to my wish list. Santa brought it, too. I suspect Santa is looking forward to this new way of baking.
This book looks fantastic. I say "looks" because I haven't been able to try any recipes yet. Mr. Wonderful has a PT test this month, and I promised I wouldn't plunge into a baking frenzy until after he got past it. Soon. (By the way, the author has a website: Dessert for Two. Prepare yourselves.)
I know y'all are thinking about the danger here, and yes, I've already considered it. The danger is, of course, that because I'm only baking a couple of servings of something, I'll feel more comfortable baking all the time. Perhaps. But I think that after a baking drought of years (only baking at Christmas), even baking only once a week will seem like a huge amount. I'm just glad I've found a way to bring something back into my life that I enjoy.
The baking starts soon. Stay tuned!