Early Morning Baking and Book Review

Greetings you pressers of words, you conquerors of the day, you digesters of food and thought! Early riser or fellow insomniac, it’s 8am on a Tuesday morning here at HTTASocks and you know what that means: I’ve been up all night and it’s time to blog… and bake… and blog about baking!

Banana bread — the go-to solution to salvage one of nature’s most conveniently-prepackaged fruits from the brink of turning to mush due to sadness and neglect. (Sorry, little buddies.)

Not being much of a baker, I had never made banana bread before and had no recipe on stand-by. I do however happen to have a go-to kitchen aid in my library — How to Cook Everything: The Basics by NY Times columnist and best-selling author Mark Bittman.

Its a nifty little book that covers… well… the basics of cooking everything (it’s hard to describe the book better than its title does). Bittman’s writing is clear and casual and the kitchen topics he covers are broad enough for a beginner. The recipes he includes really are quite basic and presented in a way that is easy to follow.

And pictures! Pictures abound! I have come across too many recipe books with scant pictoral documentation. They were useful but ultimately just boring and eventually disposable. When you’re just starting out in the kitchen or treading into new culinary territory, a visual reference at crucial points can mean the difference between soup and slop, crepe and crap, filet mignon or a filet of flaming death and destruction. (I started making beef and onions once and ended up conjuring a skillet-to-ceiling column of flame.)

I think the root problem for those who have trouble in the kitchen is that they aren’t taught how to think in the kitchen. It’s easy to find a recipe online for just about anything, but for some it’s like trying to pass Calculus 3 with a vague recollection of what happened in basic Algebra — you can follow the steps easy enough and learn to repeat them on command, but ultimately you have no idea what the fuck is going on and you panic to the point of pissing your pants the day before the final which you somehow pass by the skin of your teeth only to end up having to take Ordered Differential Equations the next semester… Scary, right?

What I’m trying to say is that this book provides an excellent base upon which one can build and eventually branch out.

I’m not a chef, and I never have been… None of which has gotten in the way of my mission to get people cooking simply, comfortably, and well. ~ Mark Bittman (source: http://content.markbittman.com/about-me)

I appreciate this approach to cooking and writing. I’m not a chef either; I’m just a guy who likes to eat well, and who can’t afford to have someone else cook for me all the time. Aside from it being a rather vital skill, I rather enjoy cooking.

Oh, and here’s the result of this morning’s efforts.

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I have to say it turned out much better than I expected. After failing the first two toothpick tests, it browned a little too much on the outside. But ultimately I saved those poor little bananas from an unfulfilled life.

More kitchen adventures to come, but for now enjoy the rest of your morning, Interweb!

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