Listen, I love to get into the kitchen and whip up meals or desserts for my friends and family at every possible opportunity. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and shortly after moving into our new home, I decided I’d dive into a longtime dream of trying my hand at cake decorating and, as it were, I’m not half-bad.
I do a great many things “from scratch”. In fact, I’ve famously made remarks that it would be easier for me to make homemade cookies than try to find store-bought cookies we’d like to eat at home. I’ll study recipes and read up on the methods to make things like the best Swiss meringue buttercream or how to create buttercream flowers; I’ll scour the grocery store for every herb and spice needed to make the perfect marinade or rub.
A couple of years ago, I was chatting with a then-colleague about food-prep. As a working single mom, I used to spend my whole day on Sunday preparing meals for the week so I could spend my weekday evenings with my kid. When I mentioned whipping up some pancake mix pancakes to store for easy breakfasts, she looked horrified. I can still hear her: “I expected better of you!”
At the time, the words hurt. Was I really letting myself and my kid down? I mean, whipping up pancakes from scratch isn’t very hard. Right?
Well, right – and wrong. You see, as much as I like rolling up my sleeves and whipping up meals, I also really like myself. And my time. And my sanity. It’s why I’ll make a “modified” cake mix by swapping out some ingredients for others to make a tastier and perfect-crumb cake when I’m going all-out on decorating. It’s why I’m totally OK with buying a just-pop-in-the-oven frozen lasagna. Or a pre-stuffed turkey.
And it’s why I’ll never bat my eye at the “just add water!” pancake mix.