Monday, December 28, 2009

Rant: Different Ovens, Different Pans

I don't cook that often but I do enjoy baking cookies during the holidays. I may spend a day making an assortment of cookies, eventually sharing them with family and friends. I am also proud of the results, and think I make a pretty good chocolate chip cookie which gets raves from others. But this year I was very disappointed that my chocolate chip cookies were a bit of a flop, nowhere near my usual quality level.

This year, I went over to my mom's place to bake cookies with her. I began by making my chocolate chip cookies and they came out overcooked, and did not spread out as they should. The main problem? A different oven and different pans.

You may not think much about how you grow used to your own oven and pans. You understand how they work, their quirks, and the best times to let your items bake. That probably took some initial trial and error. But once you understand them, the baking comes easy. With my own oven, I know best how to bake my cookies.

But when you use someone else's oven, it is like you have to start all over again. You have to learn that new oven's quirks and requirements. Your timing is off, and you must engage in more trial and error. And that is what I had to do. My chocolate chip cookies became an error which taught me about the new oven. So my later cookies came out better once I learned more about the oven. But the chocolate chip cookies were a loss.

A cautionary lesson for all of us. If you are using another's oven for your cooking, just remember that it may not produce your best work until you understand it.


The Wine Whore said...

That's a great point! I like to do a lot of grilling and I have the same problem. It's funny just how much a heating element like a grill or an oven can vary and how much this variation affects cooking!

That's why when I'm at other people's homes, I try to let them do the cooking... that and the fact that I am kinda lazy! :P

Richard Auffrey said...

I don't think you are lazy based on what I know about you, and all that you do.

It is true that ovens and grills can really vary so much. Letting the owner do the cooking is surely one way to avoid screwing up the food.