Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Obligatory First Expository Post.

When I was a kid, I always thought I'd be a writer.

I enjoyed it, I thought I was good at it, I could see myself doing it for a living for the rest of my days, when I was younger. There's a smarmy test out there, where they ask you, "If you had all the time in the world and didn't need money, what would you do with yourself?" And whatever that thing is, that's what you're supposed to do for a job. I don't think there's any job openings out there for roleplaying, World of Warcraft, or internet surfing, but if there were, I'd be all over it. If you'd asked me twenty, twenty five years ago, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I'd have answered "a writer" without a moment's hesitation. If you ask me the same question now, I'd answer, "Do I have to grow up?"

In the meantime, though, I've figured out that what I really like to do is bake. As the bumper sticker goes, the worst day baking is better than the best day doing...just about anything else, I guess. Alright, I know the bumpersticker is about fishing. Work with me here, I'm trying to make a point. While working in the tech field, six years ago, a coworker said something to me which I felt was quite profound. "Technology will fail, but the people will always need bread." From that moment, baking for a living has always been in the back of my mind.

There's something very visceral, something primal, about baking. It's dealing with the most basic human need in an elegant way, creating art out of necessity. It's deeply satisfying to break into a warm, crusty loaf, or a delicate, flaky pastry that you built with your own hands. To cheer someone up with a delicious treat. Food speaks to us in a way that words can't possibly. You're never stuck for a gift idea when you know how to bake. You're never truly stuck with nothing to do when there is sugar and flour and butter in your kitchen.

That coworker was right, of course. Technology and all its toys are very fine things, but everyone everywhere needs to eat. We don't all need a $600 phone. No, really. I decided to abandon my soft, secure, miserable job with tech support and shoulder a massive debt in the name of Education. I would learn to do this trade, it would be my living and my life, and I was perfectly okay with that. Baking was the one thing I could easily see myself doing for the rest of my life. I attended Western Culinary Institute, graduated with a B+ average, and went right to work at an exclusive club for the rich.

It didn't last, of course. The harsh reality that is Student Loan Payments crashed in and popped my little bubble, explaining to me as gently as a crowbar to the face that $8 an hour will not cut it when trying to pay $300 a month (after being assured my payments would only be $100, $150), which turned into $350, which turned into... It's a long, drama-filled story; I won't bore you, but I'm pretty sure it's illegal, what they did to me. And are doing. So I had to retreat back to the well-paying arms of Technology, but I never forgot my torrid romance with Baking. I completely intend to go back there, once the noose of Student Loans is no longer around my neck and I can AFFORD to make $8 an hour, but in the meantime, I do computers by day and baking by night. And lately, not so much of that 'by night' stuff, so I'm making a concerted effort to get back in to the swing of things.

That's what this blog is for. I'm going to try to consistently bake delicious things. And show folks how. I want as many people as possible to benefit from my education. I want to share my joy with you. So that's who I am and what I'm about.