Thursday, April 2, 2009

Outta the box

There comes a time in every busy mom's life when you gotta go to the box. I think that my friends and family think that I spend countless hours in a whirling tornado of flour churning out home-baked cakes, breads and pies at light speed. But the truth of the matter is, every now and then I go to the box. I don't feel shame about it at all until I get the "quelle horreur" face when people learn that my tasty treat came from Betty or the dough boy. I'm not gonna lie, I like the way some of these mixes taste. Granted, they don't have the dense, buttery heft of a well made pound cake or the creamy richness of a perfectly executed cheesecake, but they do have nostalgia. People of my generation were the first wave of latchkey kids. By the time I was in Jr High School, my mom had a part time job and I had the opportunity to start dinner and make simple batches of brownies and cakes from boxes. And of course, there was my first mix-intensive foray into baking at the age of nine - the Easy Bake Oven. I loved to bake my little yellow cake discs by the light of a 60 watt bulb. I still mourn the loss of that oven to a bad decision to experiment with crayon shavings and clay. My dad got one whiff of bubbling wax and cut the cord on my oven umbilical style <pause to sniff and dab at eyes with a tissue>.

So tonight I baked up a box o' brownies from a famous San Francisco chocolate manufacturer (guesses anyone?). They came with a chocolaty fudge glaze to top the bars, which was a nice touch. The young'ns ate these brownies warm from the oven with cold milk. The oooh's, aaaah's and fingerlickin' that resulted were very appreciated. For a fun and funky brownie recipe that's 100% home made and easier than falling off a log, head on over to Recipezaar for my Banana Split Brownies -

Sometimes I feel like my rabid interest in cooking makes folks want to project a food snob persona on me. I always say, "I don't care if you make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, if you make it with love" but I don't know if anyone has heard me. I feel like hunching my shoulders and raising my hands in dual peace sign formation when I say that "I am not the working-mom-baking-snob of the blogosphere!" Slice me a big whoppin hunk of that boxed yellow cake with canned frosting and move outta my way!