Saturday, August 8, 2015
A Beginners Guide to Baking a Baby from Scratch
Joining the bun in the oven club can seem overwhelming - but it doesn't have to be.
Here is my simple seven-step beginners guide to baking a baby, from scratch.
First things first, it's always a good idea to check out some already finished products to make sure this really is the right cooking career for you. Take notice of random kids and their parents in their native habitats. Witness how they interact in the park when it reaches home time. Watch the battle of wits in the car park when it's time to get in the car seat. Observe the dynamics at play when they enter the confectionery aisle at the supermarket.
Alternatively, stalk down your friends with kids and offer to cook them dinner so you can examine their finished products up close. See how cute the kids are? See how they cuddle their parents so sweetly? See how they just threw the dinner you cooked for everyone on the floor? See how they just decked each other across the dining table with a Lego truck and started screaming like banshees?
If you haven't started crying into the sink yet or retreated to the nearest pub for therapy, then you are probably in a pretty good space to crack out the apron and get started.
Baking is an acquired skill, and practice really does make perfect. If you're not quite ready to start on your prize winning dish, or you're still feeling somewhat traumatised by the Lego truck incident, take that apron straight back off and practice your skills without the added pressure of a ticking oven timer.
Skilled up? If you haven't already accidently created a masterpiece, grab your willing baking partner and set aside a good chunk of time to source and combine your ingredients. The combination stage is an anything goes type of affair. Some bakers use their own ingredients, others outsource some or all ingredients as required, and some find an offsite oven to meet their personal kitchen requirements.
There is no set recipe to follow here, so experiment with different styles and methods at will, making sure to add your own personal touches as you go. Layer in some prenatal vitamins, calcium and leafy greens for good measure, and season well with your own personal and genetic characteristics and quirks. As overall preparation time can vary wildly, with anecdotal reports ranging from less than a minute to more than a decade, be prepared to spend a fair chunk of time in the kitchen.
Promising early signs that you've chanced upon a successful combination can include feeling a little sea sick, crying over spilt milk and an unnaturally strong desire for potato chips.
Shake it, make it, bake it, baby. Place your prepared dish in the oven and bake at a moderate temperature for 40-odd weeks, until well done or otherwise scheduled for removal by your consulting professional.
Remember to periodically crank the thermostat right up to ensure you get the full baking experience of sweat-inducing, arm-pit saturating pregnant temperatures. Make sure to pace around impatiently, tapping on the glass and wishing you could just take it out of the oven already. Distract yourself from the impossibly slow baking progress by sneaking spoonfuls of ice-cream from the freezer, and reading up on the week-by-week stages of baking development and growth. It is recommended that you engage the services of the local ultrasound technician to peer in to the oven at regular intervals throughout the bake to assess progress. It can be cathartic to complain repeatedly to your partner about the length of time the dish is taking to cook.
Remove from oven, let stand
Congratulations, your dish is ready to come out of the oven! Attempt to engage your preferred dish removal strategy, then throw the nice plan out the kitchen window and do whatever it takes to get the damned dish out of the stupid oven already. Advice your fellow kitchen assistants to exercise extreme caution while rendering assistance and support, as removing the dish from the oven is hot work and can lead to volcanic eruptions of screaming and expletives.
Admire your creation
TA DA! Well, well, look what you did, you cracking little Masterchef you! Feel free to flump back on your delivery bed pillows and gaze at your freshly baked and delivered creation with awe. Marvel at how well the ingredients combined together. Be impressed at your own talents. Goggle over the cuteness of that little-button nose and those impossibly small hands and feet. Enjoy the bliss before the first screaming night feed begins.
Allow flavours to develop
Your baking extravaganza might be over for now, but the journey is just beginning. Much like your old favourites, cheese and wine, children have an astonishing tendency to get bolder, bitier and more expensive with age. Sit back, watch the flavours develop and enjoy as your complex, beautiful creation embarks on an amazing journey of their own.