I’m a really good cook but it took a while before I could come to that conclusion. In my early “grown-up” years (read newly married) it was easy. I threw steaks or chicken in the oven or on the grill, made a quick salad and baked a potato. Then I graduated to briskets, kugels, an incredible home-made chicken soup, wonderful vegetable dishes. Now, since we don’t eat meat and do mostly vegetarian, I do amazing vegetarian meals with tofu, beans, cheese, veggies and such.
So, in the early years, I tried baking desserts. One of my husband’s favorites (or so he told me) was pineapple upside down cake. My mother never made desserts from scratch so neither did I. But I did buy a boxed cake and, with obvious relish, followed the directions and shoved the pan into the oven.
Okay, now picture our galley kitchen, oven on one side, counter and sink on the other. And we had a dog. The timer goes off, time to take the cake out of the oven. Smells great. Put on the oven mitts, pop open the oven, slowly slide the cake pan out. Still smells great and actually looks good. However, by the time I brought the cake pan from the oven to the opposite counter, the cake was oooooozing out and dripping all over the floor, the counter and me. And the dog was licking up everything as fast as he could. And my husband was rolling over laughing his head off!
Okay, so I’m not a dessert baker. It was a long time before I attempted another dessert box of anything. I leave that stuff to the real bakers, at real bakeries, making real good looking and delicious stuff…. the kind I pay for!
There is one thing I’ve learned to bake really, really well, though and I’ve been baking it for over 40 years. I bake that Friday night (Shabbat) staple, challah. I make THE MOST DELICIOUS challah in the world. See?