05 January 2006

The Zen of baking tins

Losing most of your bakeware is a cleansing experience.

Yes, I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. With an empty cupboard (apart from one quiche pan) on my hands, deciding whether or not to replace everything involves a certain amount of soul-searching: certain bits were bought because “everyone’s got one or two;” other bits were extras passed on, and I have no idea where the last bits came from…which is fair because I have no idea where any of it went to. Let me clarify something: because the Madeleine, cupcake, muffin, teeny tarts and loaf pans are kept in different cupboards, I don’t need to replace everything...just most of everything.

So the great soul searching exercise began—what is it I really need? What is it I really want? (Okay,
Christopher Eccleston, but although he was very tasty as the good Doctor, I have no idea if he could bake a cake…wait a minute, am I turning down Christopher Eccleston in favour of a couple of nine-inch rounds? Nah…must be a figment or a delusion or low choccie levels or something...umm, yeah, I'd also happily take CE's successor David Tennant...yeah there's a reason The Fussy Eater isn't necessarily pleased that I willingly watch Doctor Who with him)

Okay…let’s start with the needs:
Springforms—three sizes: yeah, I know some people hate them but I am in mourning for my darling, perfect springforms—never leaked once—how many people can say that?...Large-sized baking sheets: I’m not sure if I want to bake more biscuits or if I just want to finish a round of baking sooner than with the normal-sized ones I had… a square pan: yes, I have a square Pyrex dish, but if truth be told, I hate baking in glass ovenware--wait, make that two square pan in case I want to do a layer cake (does that fit into needs or wants? Wants…I have something that will do and getting metal tins is really an extra….ditto with a rectangular tin).

Wants:
Two square tins (see above)…a rectangular tin: (see above)…a pie dish: I have disposables, but “real” ones would save money in the long run…Pretty, fluted tart pans: I could easily do with the disposable pie plates, but I’m sure fluted tarts taste better than smoother-sided tarts…a cathedral bundt pan: sometimes I just want a pretty-looking cake without messing around with icing and sprinkles and piping bags…nine-inch rounds: two so I can do a layer cake—yes I know I could just slice through the middle of a thick cake, but I’m really bad at it and the crumbs get everywhere and I’m inherently lazy when it comes to doing fussy cake things…

So, with lists in hand, I started researching things online
Blah…it was really easy finding decently compiled consumer reviews for digital cameras, but finding something comparable to bakeware was kinda like buying eggnog in February—I’m sure it’ll be there, but do you really want to drink it?

Given the ubiquitous book-and-tchotcky-o-rama was having their Boxing Day sale, I found a copy of
Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen at a discounted price. Nicely laid out, funnily written and starts with a reference to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey …what more do I want? There’s breakdown of metal configurations along with interesting side notes and covers topics such as pots, pans, knives, things with plugs and things without plugs. There are also rants: it's like reading a Good Eats script. If you pick it up, realise that a lot of it is personal opinion and preferences—he’s not shy about it—but it contains useful nuggets. The most important ones: “…the right tools are not necessarily the prettiest, the best or the most expensive ones—but they are the tools that you enjoy using. Each cook needs to find his or her own right tools…” Oh the other bonus with this book? The Fussy Eater read a few pages and almost didn’t give it back to me…given he has this weird aversion regarding anything kitchen-related (except food…and only certain types of foods) it must be a good book (if you are interested in pan metals, The Toronto Star published an article yesterday about it—here’s the link).

I suppose the other good thing is this is the best time of year to lose bakeware: Boxing Day sales. I bought everything in my needs list and some of my wants plus a couple of extras at good prices (I’d have paid an extra 30-50% more if this happened at another time). To make things even better, I found a bakeware line with smartly-designed handles—ones that don’t force my oven mitts to dent the cakes and loaves).

Unfortunately, this unforeseen expense means I won’t be able to afford a new set of knives for a little while. Oh well…I guess I’ll have to eat cake.

cheers!
jasmine

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6 comments:

Tania said...

Mmm ... Christopher Eccleston ...

Congrats on the new additions! May everything you bake in them turn out brilliantly.

paz said...

So, how did you loose all your bakeware stuff? Anyway, I'm glad you were able to find nice new ones. I reiterate Tania's wish for you. "May everything you bake in them turn out brilliantly."

BTW, I think that Alton Brown always has something useful to say or write...

Paz

Jasmine said...

Thanks to both of you (and to Kim who sent me a note at home).

All I'll say is that someone thought they were being helpful.

sigh.

keiko said...

Hi Jasmine - your blog is lovely, and I especially like your wonderful writing! I'm sorry about your bakeware, but I'm sure you'll be happy baking with new ones again. Looking forward to more of your lovely posts.

PS
I haven't seen the Davit Tennant one yet...

Jasmine said...

Hello Keiko

Thanks for visiting and the kind words. Best of luck in the competition (for those of you who don't know, Keiko has a really lovely foodblog that's up for best new blog this year).

The David Tennant appeared on the final episode of the new series with Christopher Eccleston. His first episode of the series aired in the UK on Christmas Day (I think); it aired here in Canada on Boxing Day (I think we called it The Boxing Day Invasion). It was very good.

j

Koshka42 said...

Of course the first thing my eyes saw in this post was your reference to the lovely Mr Ecclesbum...