For whatever reason, I am addicted to baking shows this time of year. Not cooking, baking. My nieces and I are watching Cake Wars together–do you watch that? We create back stories for all the contestants. I’m not proud of this, but it is family time.
But recently I discovered The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. (UK website here.) I’d heard about it, but hadn’t caught on yet, so I missed this season on PBS. I watched one episode, then another. Before I knew it I was not only addicted, but I was also inspired to try baking new things. I’d never made boiled pastry–going to try it now. Sponge cakes, I hardly knew ye before this. Victoria Sandwiches, it is lovely to meet you. Cakes made with yeast? Maybe not, though I’m glad to know more about you.
One of the challenges on the Great British Baking Show is a technical challenge. General directions are given, but they require technical know how in order to implement them correctly, and well. In some cases (as the show progresses), people have no idea what the finished product is supposed to look like. But they muddle through, doing their best to guess, make adjustments, and get some finished product ready for the judges.
Writing a book is like a technical challenge on The Great British Baking Show:
- You technically know how to write.
- You are given certain ingredients: a story, a genre, a basic outline of how the story should work.
- You have no idea how it will all end up, but you hope that those who are going to judge (agents, editors, readers) deem it successful.
- And then, next week, the challenge gets tougher, because you have to out do yourself.
With this in mind, and in the spirit of the season, I am baking things that are new to me, and exploring new spices, techniques, and recipes.
I am also rediscovering the importance of chilling cookie dough, and letting bread dough rise. But that’s another blog post.
Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series. The first in the series, Just Killing Time, came out in October.