Program Specialist

Program Specialist

Assist in the hiring and management of Liaisons and Instructors; After School Matters is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer….

After School Matters
Chicago, IL 60601

From After School Matters 13 days ago

Those babyboomers out here will remember the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbooks sold at the grocery check-out for 25 cents many, many, many years ago. Okay so I’m dating myself, but during those days women and men really baked from scratch. There was no prepared cookie dough, bread dough or cake mix. You had to know math, flavoring techniques and have strong arms since most recipes called for you to beat the batter 250-300 strokes with a wood spoon to form the cake batter.

Yes, for those “babybakers” out there the word Kitchen Aid® was non-existent; and there was no such thing as an electric mixer, we had plain old egg beaters, that again, ran by good old fashioned muscle power. As I think back on those days I can now appreciate the knowledge I gained from having to do things from “scratch.” When you bake from scratch you learn about the texture of a product, the smell, taste, color, knowing when it is wrong and when you have hit pay dirt.

I do not use boxed mixes, or bread machines, I am a purist and I admire and cultivate to other purist(birds of a feather). It’s easy to toss ingredients in a bread machine and dump out dough. I know the bread will bake up beautifully and taste divine, but there is something about getting your hands in that dough and making the bread from scratch, plus if the machine ever breaks down, I can still produce wonderful bread for my family and friends. I am not knocking folks with bread machines, use what you like. I am of that generation that just appreciated the work that goes into using physical labor, hands, sweat to produce a delicious product. One of the students in my micro business class said it best, “There’s something about going to sleep at night knowing you have produced with your own hands a product that not only fed the hungry, but also “your” soul, you just seem to sleep better at night.”

Well it’s time for the 44th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off and another person will win one million dollars for creating some sweet or savory concoction from preservative laden pre-prepared doughs and mixes. What does this tell us? We are continuing to dumb down American cooks and bakers. Why can’t we go back to the days when people made these delicious baked goods from scratch? What’s wrong with scratch cooking? Don’t give me the excuse about saving time either, because I know all the garbage (preservatives) put in these prepared mixes has to affect our health.

Scratch cooks and bakers around the world need to rise up, take note and protest! This is an abomination, right? Alright, I got that off my chest, back to my kitchen…today I working on a new brownie infused with Butterscotch Liqueur …from scratch…I might add.

Detra Denay Davis, owner of Cooking with Denay, operates an online learning center for home based bakers and home food processors. She also teaches the wildly popular class How to Operate a Home-Based Bakery: Profits from My Kitchen for the Wake County Public School System Lifelong Learning Program. Formerly a caterer from Michigan, Denay was featured in Bon Appétit magazine and is an active member of the International Culinary Professionals Association (ICPA), Slow Food (Triangle Chapter), and Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization dedicated to keeping the diverse food cultures of the American South alive. When Denay is not teaching she is the founder of the Culinary Historians of North Carolina. Visit Denay at http://cookingwithdenay.com to learn more.

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