Miss NiNi’s class schedule has rarely changed over decades of life. Oh, the depth of material within each subject matter has continuously refashioned itself. But with studious deployment of each of those subjects in day-to-day life, seasonal breaks have whizzed right past with nary a I-think-I-will-sleep-in opportunity.
Dear Readers, one might suppose that this open-ended schooling would certainly yield a “Doctorate of Everything” degree. But, alas, there is not a diploma gathering dust on the mantel of our home. I just checked!
Earning Your Degree (of sorts!)
However, that degree-of-sorts does show its lovely face each and every time I study a recipe and complete it from start to finish!
Surprise! Surprise, Dear Readers! You, too, have a complete class schedule that unveils when you break open the oft-used textbook of baking!
Let’s say that your class schedule of the aforementioned subjects applies itself in the form of baking banana bread. Here is the breakdown.
Mathematics: Understanding numbers and the use of those numbers when dealing with ingredients can make or break the outcome of a recipe. Oh, did the recipe call for 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon of baking soda in that banana bread? I hope the teaspoon was used for measuring! There will be a time in baking, however, when a tablespoon is required. But if the tablespoon has gone-a-missing, remember three teaspoons equal one tablespoon.
Your recipe might call for 1-1/2 cups flour. Will you use the 1 cup and ½ cup or the ¾ cup? And why, would you even consider using the ¾ cup? Because if some measuring cups have found new residence in your child’s sand box, you can easily work with clean tools such as the ¾ cup measure. Dust off the ole math lesson on fractions and recall that 3/4 times two equals 1-1/2.
Do you need to double a recipe? Use your math noggin to complete the process by applying addition or multiplication skills.
Does the recipe yield too much for you to handle? Better subtract or divide those ingredients into the correct proportions. Thank goodness for elementary math teachers!
Physical Science: Adding a leavening agent such as baking soda to liquid batter causes a major change in form and function of the finished product when a halo of oven’s heat engulfs combined ingredients. Unedible batter converts into a solid mass of baked goodness after a determined length of time.
Mmm. Smell the wonderful aroma of fruit and spices as the baking process enfolds! That’s physical science at its best, Dear Readers! Don’t burn the banana bread! That’s physical science at its worst!
Art: How often have you heard it told that we eat with our eyes first? That’s true! Would you like to sink your teeth into a blackened slice of quick bread? Or maybe an underbaked, liquid-in-the middle slice is desired by your taste buds? Oh Dear! Neither would touch Miss NiNi’s mouth, Dear Readers! A baked product that is appealing on the surface creates a mental picture of a product’s expected taste. Rarely, do the two differ. We see. We anticipate. We taste. And in some cases, it tastes so good that we devour!
“Sparkle” in the forms of a dash of large sugar crystals or a sprinkle of chocolate chips or toasted nutmeats prior to baking add pizzazz to the top of a loaf of banana bread. Have fun with your own “sideways” creativity. Remember, Dear Readers, beauty in simplicity is the art principle that speaks softly but can carry a big stick. In other words, embellish food tastefully!
Psychology: For many food creators, the mantra of baking is personal satisfaction. Joining hands with that mantra is the realization that you satisfied your soul to please the palettes of others. A compliment in the form of a smile or a ‘this is really good’ can change a so-so day into a great day! Even if baking skills need to be shined up a little bit, keep at it! I-can-do-this improvement will be rewarded with pleasurable fulfillment!
Applying What You’ve Learned
When opening a family recipe box or searching a newly purchased baking periodical, the first step in tackling a class schedule has been initiated. Then, application of mathematics, physical science, art, and psychology in creating a baked treat with a chosen recipe all work in sync to stimulate the mind and feed the body and soul.
And you thought that you were ‘just baking’!