An OuLiPian Pie
Yesterday, I baked this apple pie.
I love baking. It’s a completely different experience than cooking or anything else, really. I don’t know exactly what it is, but baking is relieving. Maybe it’s the quasi-precision baking necessitates.
See: when I cook, I don’t follow any recipe. Even if I’m cooking something for the first time, I modify the recipe as I go, adding this spice or that, more cook time or less, substituting ingredients whimsically, etc.
But with baking, there are basic rules I have to follow. For instance, the amount of rising element (eggs, baking soda, baking powder, etc.) and flour can’t really change. I certainly can’t arbitrarily decide the temperature of the oven or how long the thing bakes. I like this.
Whereas I can put in more or less sugar, more or less butter, fewer apples or even a different kind of fruit, there are constraints. There are rules that can’t change.
Cooking, on the other hand, is open. There may be some standard cooking times, but these can be circumnavigated by shifting the heat level or using a different type of pot (a steam-cooker, for instance, defies the cook time for lentils or rice). I mean: with cooking, rules can be broken. They aren’t as definite as with baking.
So maybe this is a stretch, but I think I love baking because the process of baking is not unlike OuLiPian constraints. That is, the more constraints put on the baker during the process of baking, the higher the baked good’s potential.
And constraints or not, the pie was positively delicious.