At work today, we had a baking contest… that I did not participate in. I got a bit of shock and confusion in reaction to my lack of participation. One colleague joked that I was ‘throwing shade’ by not participating. Another colleague said that I was probably too much of a food snob to participate. Maybe all of the above is true to a degree, but what was worse was when I actually saw some of these things on the kitchen counter.
One of the batches of chocolate chip cookies (can you ever have a bake-off and NOT see chocolate chip cookies in some form?) looked more like little tiny poop dumps of coal with black spots all over them (those are the chocolate chips). The chocolate chip banana bread was severely overbaked and thus extremely dry. When I was trying to search for the banana flavor, instead of being a rich, sweet, gooey banana flavor, it was faint, barely detectable (the bananas were not at their ripest and if anything, were still green or yellow… ewwww). The second set of chocolate chip cookies didn’t brown much at all, and they spread so much that they looked more like chocolate chip pizzas than cookies. And then was of course the paleo/gluten-free baked good for those counting carbs: zucchini-cheddar “muffins” made with grated zucchini, cheddar, smoked bacon, almond flour, and scrambled eggs, baked in little muffin tins. These were savory and delicious. But my favorites were the pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and the corn bread.
After reviewing the baked goods today, I do realize that I could come off as a jerk for not participating, but hey, I’m focused on other projects now. But even more, I’ve realized exactly why people are so happy to pay $4 for a slice of banana bread or $5 for a cupcake — because they could never produce even half the quality at home due to a total lack of skill or simply following direction. And don’t even get me started on applauding yourself when you’ve managed to bake a banana bread loaf when it’s dry, barely tastes like banana, and then have the audacity to share it like it’s amazing when it definitely is not. If I made banana bread like that, it would never leave my kitchen, much less get shared with colleagues. I have a reputation to uphold.