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Tuesday, May 05, 2015
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Published: Tuesday, 9/2/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

COMMENTARY

There’s always time for baking

BY MARY BILYEU
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

Procrastibaking. It‘‍s my new favorite word.

My favorite word used to be “happify” -- to make happy. But procrastibaking happifies, so it really encompasses both terms.

The definition of this ridiculous but utterly rational word, according to the meme on Facebook, is: “The art of making cupcakes instead of doing something else you should be doing.”

That’‍s very me. Except that I not only bake when I should be doing something else, like writing columns; I also bake while I‘‍m doing something else, like writing columns.

Some people play Candy Crush when they’‍re trying to avoid work. Others go on Pinterest to find their dream kitchens or to gather images of glamorous new wardrobes. Why would you want to scrub the bathtub, after all, if you can play make-believe dress-up with pictures of gorgeous shoes and clothes you couldn‘‍t possibly afford in the real world? If you could afford those clothes, you could also afford to have someone scrub that bathtub for you.

But instead of pinning on Pinterest or crushing candies in cyberspace, I bake.

Sometimes I bake cupcakes, but usually I make cookies. They’‍re easier to mail to family members out-of-state. And there‘‍s a faster return if you want to eat them yourself, as you can mix, scoop, bake, and then devour them quickly. With cupcakes, the baking time is twice as long; and then you have to let them cool so that the frosting doesn’‍t melt off of them.

Unless, of course, you simply get your sugar fix by making a quick batch of frosting and eating that without bothering to bake the cupcakes. That works, too.

Procrastibaking is at least a productive time waster. You may not get any closer to your original goal while engaged in it, but at least you‘‍ll have a cake or a quick bread or a pie when you’‍re done with your extended avoidance. If you‘‍re really trying hard to run from a particularly hideous job -- hiding from doing your taxes, let’‍s say -- then employ procrastibaking by making something very time-consuming, such as croissants. Start with homemade puff pastry, folding butter into dough and then rolling the dough repeatedly to evenly distribute the fat for supreme flakiness. Then there‘‍s the cutting of the dough, rolling perfect crescents and carefully tucking the corners, brushing them with an egg wash .... Oh, procrastibaking can provide escape for hours, if need be.

And remember this: you‘‍ll have a treat to enjoy as you contemplate the dreaded chore you’‍re trying desperately to sneak away from, something to bolster your spirits as you muster the courage to confront the oppressor. You‘‍ll also have something to reward yourself with when you’‍ve accomplished the task.

Really, procrastibaking is essential to our well-being. No one should be chastised for procrastibaking.

It‘‍s good for the economy, too, as we procrastibakers repeatedly have to buy more flour, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nuts, and other supplies. We help to keep grocery stores in business.

One night last week, in an effort to relax while feeling pressure from a looming deadline, I baked peach cobbler. The night before that, I baked M&M cookies.

And just because I know you‘‍re wondering, yes, I even did some procrastibaking as I typed this column. Or, more correctly, a bit of procrastimicrowaving.

I took about 2/3 cup of mini chocolate chips, maybe two generous tablespoons of smooth peanut butter, and a small splash of milk, then heated it all together for 45 seconds. I stirred the mixture until it was smooth, and voilà! I had peanut butter hot fudge sauce to pour over vanilla ice cream.

But really, all I needed was a spoon. No ice cream was required.


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