Recently I corresponded with Dr. LuAnn Soliah of Baylor University about an article she wrote some years ago with a colleague titled “Current Home Baking Practices.” I believe the article was written in 2004. Well, to make a long story short the paper concluded that we just don’t bake the way we use to and our fast paced lives have lead parents and children down a dangerous path. Parents manage to provide food for their children and teenagers; however they don’t teach them about food preparation and nutrition which is now being referred to by Quist, J., Toth, K.S. and Green, K. (1998) as “shopping, cooking and eating” viewing the knowledge associated with nutrition as nothing more than common daily acts. What is the world coming to?
According to Dr. LuAnn Soliah “parents need to recognize that home food preparation is a teaching opportunity as well as a parental responsibility;” and we all know that parents are a child’s first teacher, right? Where do we begin? We can first start by learning how to cook, bake, can and preserve healthy foods ourselves. This may sound simple, but you would be surprised the number of adults who do not know how to do anything more than open a can or microwave a frozen dinner. I am by no means an alarmist but to put all of your faith in large food conglomerates who are in business to make money and not really supply healthy nutritious food is just plain foolish.
I am a cooking instructor. I teach folks how to cook, how to build sustainable home food processing systems that put control over food selection and preparation back into the hands of those who should have it. Everyone lives busy lives, and has work, school, family and community responsibilities, but having direct control of what you eat and how it is prepared is going to be paramount in the coming years. We are all doing more with less, and that includes attempting to feed the masses. When the population increases and people are forced to work longer hours, for less pay, with less training and this is happening; even the Center for Disease Control has admitted that foodborne infections are on the rise and changing.
In approximately two weeks I will be teaching a Micro business course titled "How to operate a successful home-based bakery." Fortunately I live in a state that allows folks to operate home-based bakeries. This is not as unusual as you might think. In some third world countries, there are village or town bakers who own and operate large hearths; this baker is responsible for baking the bread brought to him by the villagers. Each loaf is marked to indicate ownership and the villager drops off their loaf/loaves and returns in a few hours to retrieve it, baked and ready for consumption. How cool is that?
There is nothing more basic than baking, whether it is bread, cake, pie or cookies; the art of baking has been around since the beginning of time, but it is an art we must preserve, cultivate and pass on to future generations. There are children who have never tasted homemade bread or cookies. Would you believe there are adults who have never eaten a homemade cake because their mother only used Duncan Hines boxed cake mix? I once had a young women tell me, “Why would I ever bake a cake from scratch when I can just buy a box of mix for a couple dollars?”
I neglected to tell her, because she could avoid consuming:
Sugar, enriched bleached wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine moninitrate, riboflavin, folic acid). Vegetable oil shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean oil, propylene glycol mono-and diesters of fats, mono-AND diglcerides, leavening (sodium bi-carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), dextrose, wheat startch, contains 2% or less of salt, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavors, gum Arabic, partially hydrogentated soybean oil, cellulose gum, citric acid, xanthan gum, colored with (yellow 5 lake) Contains: wheat
I just think it’s easier to say the cake was made with flour, eggs, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch, butter (cream), milk, vanilla bean and sugar or honey.
Look, I’m no purist. I occasionally purchase store bought pie shells and mayo off the shelf; but I do know how to make a pie shell from scratch and mayo using fresh egg yolks, canola oil, vinegar, salt, and a little dry mustard. I’m just saying before you through the baby out with the bath water, at least teach the little tike to swim. Our children will grow up to be young adults and how they function, live and take care of their own families will be a direct reflection of what we do or do not teach them. They don’t learn through osmosis so the next time your child says “What are we having for dinner”? Say, come here, let’s fix dinner together tonight. They may or may not like it now, but they will truly thank you in about ten years.
Below is my favorite morning bread. It is moist, flavorful and great with that first cup of java. I have cut out the egg yolk and reduced the sugar, however if you use ripe fresh fruit you won’t even miss it. This is definitely one of those loaves you could take to work and know that inside of 10 minutes there would be nothing left but crumbs. Enjoy!