Ellis has a new hobby: baking. Almost every morning he wakes up and requests to put “milk in the batter.” His words for baking (from In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak). He loves to measure out all of the dry ingredients and then hand-transfer them to the mixing bowl. He usually chants the song from the book: “Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! We bake cake! And nothing’s the matter!”
I am not sure where this new interest came from because I really despise baking. I am not good at following recipes. And I don’t say that in an arrogant “I don’t need recipes” kind of way. I desperately need them; I just find them bossy and they tend to spark defiance in me rather than inspiring order. A few years ago I asked for Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas. I opened it right away to make crepes on Christmas morning. I got half way through the recipe and saw that I was supposed to refrigerate the batter for 4 hours! I abandoned crepes and that cookbook. Now with a toddler and a babe I really don’t have time for fussy or demanding recipes.
But Ellis loves to use “the machine” (as he calls the stand mixer). And it turns out baking is very compatible with toddler pace. If you have ever tried to dress a toddler then you are familiar with toddler pace. It is probably the slowest measurement of time on earth. When we put milk in the batter, sure it takes 15 minutes to hand scoop 2 cups of flour, but our treats actually end up tasting better for it. Our cakes are fluffier and our bread more scrumptious when it is mixed for 10x longer than the recipe suggests. I also don’t feel rushed and baking isn’t so bad when it goes slow. In the past few weeks we have made four banana breads, brownies and an upside down pear cake. We are getting to the point where we can actually bake cake like “nothing’s the matter.”