I’m not not a baker

Once, many years ago, my boss was sharing his guidelines for hiring or not hiring an interview candidate. There was the common sense stuff such as: Are they dressed professionally? Are they articulate in their answers? Have they ever left a job on bad terms before? But for some reason, the item he really chose to harp on was the use of double negatives. “If they use a double negative, don’t hire them!” he yelled. He repeated this nugget of information at least a dozen million times over my next 3 years of employment. It’s like he couldn’t let it go. He was a man obsessed. So I guess I’m giving up my chances of ever being hired again by entitling this post: I’m not not a baker.

Yes, it’s a double negative.

But it expresses a terrifying truth.

After I recently shared a recipe for some delectable cookies, my blogging friend from The Pajama Chef (Sarah) made a comment saying (and I paraphrase) ‘You always say you’re not a baker, and yet what does this prove?’

Dang it, she’s right! I thought to myself. I can’t really say I don’t bake anymore. Because I just baked, and told the world about it.

After these cookies . . . these cookies . . . these bars . . . this quickbread . . . this beer bread . . . these mini pumpkin muffins . . . this pie . . . I can no longer state “I don’t bake.”

Because: I bake.

So I am not not a baker anymore.

I have graduated myself to ‘novice baker.’

It’s a frightening move for me, and now I feel like I have a huge target on my back. Soon, they’ll discover you understand nothing about the science of baking, my insecurities warned me. You’ll be called out as a fraud!

Though who exactly are ‘they’? My insecurities never bothered to specify.

This is my topmost life fear, by the way: to be uncovered as a scamming shamming fraudulent human girl. Throughout my high marks in high school and college, the fear that constantly dogged me was: They’re bound to discover soon that I’m not actually smart, but just good at faking it. They’re bound to find out that I don’t actually measure up. That my ‘intelligence’ is just a sham. That I’m a phony! A fraud! A failure! The fact that I aced every class was just a fluke. Soon, the truth would be revealed!

So I hope that by calling myself a ‘novice baker’ you don’t think I’m giving myself airs. Because I in no way pretend or claim to have discovered the perfect chocolate chip cookie! And isn’t that the aim of every real baker out there? I’d better get started–I’m way behind on this mission.

Note: my husband is convinced he’s discovered the perfect chocolate chip cookie–you can tell by the look on his face that he feels he’s arrived. I, however, am firmly convinced that further scientific experimentation must take place. Methods for wiping the smug expression off his face may include but are not limited to: tickling, spanking, singing a small operetta at the top of my lungs, and eating all his cookie dough before it makes it to the oven.

What can I say. I love that guy, even if he’s dead wrong.

Progress reports must be posted soon.


The Non-non-bakerperson

P.S. Lemon Cream Bar recipe tomorrow, Lemon Crinkle Cookies later this week!

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23 Responses to I’m not not a baker

  1. Haha! I’m totally with your boss– you can look great on paper, but if you make a grammatical error in an interview or in your letter, off with your head! To be correct, you could say you’re a reformed non-baker. Try that on for size! Looking forward to the lemon cream bars!!

  2. Wendi says:

    Jenna, doesn’t it feel better to finally admit that you’re not not a baker? Embrace the baking hon.

  3. Pssst: Jenna, I’ll tell you a secret…we’re ALL frauds, babe. :)

  4. I grew up without an oven in Korea. Korean home cooks rarely baked back when, so you can imagine the angst I have about baking! Though I bake out of necessity, it is definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m with ya, Jenna! Amongst the sisterhood of “Non-non Baker Persons”!

  5. SoupAddict says:

    Here’s my totally unsolicited advice. Learn from the best. Baking is where it really pays to invest in cookbooks – buy from the pros. The difference between baking from recipes and really understanding baking to the point where you can create your own is learning the science, understanding the formulas and ratios and ingredients. You can follow a recipe for cheesecake from smitten kitchen and make a nice cheesecake, but you’re not going to learn from her why that recipe works/doesn’t work.

    Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with following recipes. :)

  6. Holly says:

    Looking forward to the lemon bars recipe from a novice baker! :)

  7. So I must ask- did you try my cookies? If so, what happened?

    • Jenna says:

      Not yet! We’re still working through the last batch of chocolate chip cookies that Adam made. Once we get through those and the batch of lemon cookies from last week, my mission is clear! =) It might take me a few weeks to blog about them though.

      • Oh- you don’t have to blog about them. They are an entirely humble 10 minute happy stress free project and really not so blogworthy. Anyway I already wrote about them- I was just curious to see if those cookies were my recipe. They looked a bit different. Maybe your husband could share his perfect recipe at some point…

      • Jenna says:

        Yeah, the cookies pictured are entirely Adam’s creation. The thing is, I don’t really like the recipe he uses. He adds extra flour to make them ‘meatier’ or something, and I’m not a huge fan of the resulting texture. So I’ve told him that we have to try your recipe and also June’s recipe and branch out. =) I’m hoping to lead him to greener pastures . . .

  8. Veronica says:

    You’re a baker! Own it, girl. :) P.S. Do you ever check your email???

    • Jenna says:

      I’ll work towards owning it. It may take a few years, heh heh.
      And yes, I did get your email! I’m checking it out right now and will reply soon!

  9. I’m not a baker. Period. No double negatives. I do try, really. But I think the failed attempts surpass the successful ones like 1:10 ratio. Really!

  10. giselle says:

    I think you suffered from the impostor syndrome. Look it up. I’m pretty sure we all do at least at some point – I feel that way right now with my job!!

  11. Hahah, well, your cookies look really good! :D

  12. Twinky says:

    …a “no longer non-baker” solves the double negative issue (and has a nice cadence!)… And using a double negative correctly is not a grammatical error… I would venture to say that it actually shows some good linguistic and conceptual astuteness!!

  13. Rita says:

    Ah ah ah! This post is so amusing!!! Your husband’s face is reeeally funny. Go on, novice baker! :)

  14. Sarah says:

    awww, jenna, you’re so cute! i’m glad i sparked a revolution in your thinking…cause in grad school i don’t revolutionize anyone’s thinking ;) you can totally be a non-non-bakerperson! :) have a great week!!

  15. Haley says:

    Haha! My boyfriend thinks he has found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe too! Lol. His secret ingredient is almond extract. Oops! I guess it’s not a secret now! Tee hee!

  16. Sherri says:

    You are far and above a better baker than I am. I do the same thing, though -I am not a writer… All my clients will soon discover that I am a fraud :-). Anyway, the photo of your hubby is so funny …. the look on his face exactly what you said – a smug “eureka”-type… like he HAS discovered the perfect choc chip cookie and so much more….

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