For years I never really knew how to cook anything. Sure, I could pop something in the microwave, maybe boil some water, but a desire to actually throw together ingredients in any sort of skilled way never took hold in my heart.
I just didn’t care. A combination of university living, followed by a simple bachelor existence, and eventual military service made me quite comfortable with pre-prepared foods. I didn’t really understand why anyone would care to spend a lot of time developing the skill to cook. It seemed more trouble than it was worth.
My opinion was changed by something quite unexpected. My wife and I were watching television some years ago when we happened upon a Food Network special on a pie contest held in Celebration, Florida as part of the Great American Pie Festival. The various pies and their creators were profiled.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of pie. I just never put much thought into how it was made. Perhaps if I’d seen the same special a few years earlier, it wouldn’t have affected me the same way. You see, at the time, I was attending university and studying molecular and microbiology. Accompanying those majors was a major commitment to chemistry coursework.
Watching the various men and women discuss their strategies, ingredients, and tastes, I had an epiphany: baking is chemistry. I understood chemistry. I liked chemistry. After that I began baking with regularity, generating edible experiments. Although I’m not likely to be good enough to compete in Celebration, Florida anytime soon, I’m glad that a simple perspective change introduced me to a delicious new hobby.
When not baking, working in a lab, or spending time with his wife and children, J.A. Beard spends time writing fiction. His debut release, a young adult urban fantasy, THE EMERALD CITY, unfortunately involves neither science nor baking. He can be found on the web at jabeard.com, Twitter, and Facebook.