I have long wanted to address what in my opinion is a burning question just begging to be answered, but have held back for fear of offending my readership. However, a recent episode (well an episode I saw recently anyway) of "The Katie Brown Workshop" brought this question to my mind again, and I decided I'm just going to say it:
Why on God's green earth do we need baking mixes?
Well, it's out, you can all hate on me now, if you want.
I just don't understand them. Is it really that hard to measure out flour, baking powder or soda, and salt? Really? That's all some of these baking mixes are. I'm trying to picture the scenario in which one thinks, "Hmm...I'd like to bake something...how about a coffee cake? Okay here's a recipe! Let's see flour, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, sugar, milk, eggs...oh dear, no, that's far too much work! Let's try this Bisquick recipe instead. Let's see, it calls for Bisquick, vegetable oil, sugar, milk, and eggs. So much simpler! How did I ever live without Bisquick?"
Really? By using the Bisquick version, this theoretical person has saved, what, 30 seconds by not having to measure out the leavening agents? I will agree that more complex baked goods, like cakes can be a little more tricky, but honestly, if you can follow the directions on the back of the Betty Crocker box, you can follow a basic yellow cake recipe. I swear on my son's security elephant it's not that difficult (some kids have a blankie, my kid has an elephant; told you he was cool).
Okay, back to the Katie Brown episode. For those of you who have never seen it, "The Katie Brown Workshop" is a show on PBS in which Katie Brown, a former caterer, does segments on cooking, decorating, and gardening...or rather flower arranging...in my opinion, she's sort of like the poor man's Rachael Ray (which shows you what I think of her if you know how I feel about Rachael Ray...), or the very poor man's Martha Stewart. Anyway...so she was demonstrating her special recipe for festive, fancy carrot corn muffins. Her daughter and her little friends love them, she says, they can't get enough! Are you ready for her special, festive fancy carrot corn muffin recipe? Get a pen...okay here it is:
Take one box of Jiffy corn muffin mix. Prepare according to instructions. Add some shredded carrot. Bake.
Make a glaze of maple syrup and powdered sugar. Pour over muffins. Ta-da!
Bet you didn't need a pen for that one, huh? I'm sorry, but I don't think you should be allowed to call a dish your special recipe if all you did was add 2 things to a boxed mix! That's like adding a dash of cayenne pepper to a jar of Ragu and calling it your super special secret spicy sauce (oooh...I think I'm going to patent that name, so alliterative!)Would it really have been that much more difficult for her to measure out some flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt and make an actual corn muffin recipe? I guess it would have taken away from her time pulling the heads off of roses and skewering them on willow branches (no kidding, I couldn't make this stuff up, people).
I don't mean to hate on Katie Brown, or anyone else who uses boxed mixes, I just really don't see the point. Now, if you could get an entire cake in a box, well then they'd have something...oh wait you can. In fact, here's a good place to do that: www.magpiescakes.com. All I'm saying is if you're going to bake, bake, if you want a cake out of a box, buy one from professionals.
Throw that Bisquick away, people! Better yet, donate it to a homeless shelter, write it off as a tax deduction and use the money you saved to buy a bag of flour, a can of baking powder, and a box of baking soda. Call your grandma and ask for her coffee cake recipe, or if your grandma's a Bisquick lover, call me! I have at least four simple and delicious coffee cake recipes including a vegan one.
Rant over. Let the hate mail commence ;).