I’ve realized what has driven me to enjoy cooking and baking in the past few years, and it came as a little bit of a surprise: science. Although a lot of people get great satisfaction from successfully reproducing a recipe developed by someone else, I prefer stumbling my way onto something delicious by throwing together ingredients that I suspect complement each other.
I am aided in this exploration by sharing my experiments in the kitchen with someone who’s not afraid to eat something that only qualifies as “pretty good” or even “okay.” This means even my weaker efforts are still appreciated as supplying essential vitamins and minerals, and I can use such failed attempts as lessons learned without depriving anyone of nutrition.
I cannot do this at work. Science requires meticulousness and austere attention to detail. Science requires skipping lunch to do 20 five-minute washes in a row; waiting eight days for results; doing something until it works, even if you have to do it fifty times and the one time it works you followed exactly the same protocol as the previous thirty failed attempts; wearing long pants and close-toed shoes all summer; and keeping REALLY good notes regarding every single move you make in the lab. I find these things comforting about science, because that’s how I think science should work. And because when I’ve had to perform other people’s experiments, I’m glad they abided by the extremely-detailed-note-taking rule. But when I’m cooking… sometimes I just want to throw stuff together and see what happens. Wearing flip flops.
All of this explaining (read: stalling) has led me to present you with the following picture, preceded by an apology: I am sorry I am showing you these cookies. I cannot transmit smells over the internet, but even the morning after I baked them— well, you can imagine. The reason for my apology is simple: while I can tell you every ingredient contained within these little delights, I certainly cannot indicate, aside from butter and flour, the amount of any of them. If you are bold, daring, adventurous, or willing to accept the possibility of failure, you will delight in trying to recreate them. If you are a recipe follower, then you will never attempt to make these. Please forgive me.