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The Perversion of Male Baking

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When work is scarce for the average English teacher/father to be, there tends to be few options with which to occupy your vast free-time and when boredom verges on insanity thats when most men turn to baking....well probably not most men at least.  Ah yes baking the age-old male practice of merging wet and dry ingredients along with the aid of a hot oven in the hopes that the process will render an edible and delicious treat, yup nothing screams masculinity and testosterone better than baking.  An act that much the military´s position on gays in uniform, is don´t ask, don´t tell.  Now in the past I would have definitely shaken my head in disapproval at the sight of such a reality but as I have grown older I like to think that I have matured if not just a bit.  To be quite honest I was rather surprised that until recently with the aid of my lovely wife, I found the unorthodox male act of baking to be, well not that bad, really.

Over the years I have discovered my growing interest in cooking and yet it shouldn´t have come as a surprise to me that I would find baking to be enjoyable as well, yet not nearly as much as cooking.  The feminine stigma that has plagued the minds of many men in the western hemisphere is probably to blame for the countless years of persecution against those deviant and confused lads who put on the apron and oven mitts.  Initially for me what started out as an uncomfortable and gender-conflicting scenario later became an open and acceptable one free of my paranoias.  Though my first attempts at concocting a delicious treat were less than satisfying I soon figured it out well enough to not burn the orange pound cake I had baking in the oven.  In no way would I ever consider baking to rival in complexity when compared to cooking, though that is not to say that baking isn´t without it´s own difficulties.  There are a lot of factors one should consider if they decide to take up the task though, like the importance of exact proportions and volumes as well as oven temperatures and baking time.  Many of these factors if left ignored or disregarded through gross negligence could have unsavory results in the end.  

Returning to my opening sentence, yesterday presented itself to be among all things rather uneventful and dull. Now I´m not sure if Rosemary´s expected arrival or Zdenka´s more than lathargic state has played any role in our overall lack of activity but it was more than enough to encourage a baking session at home.  It should also be noted that today is Zdenka´s birthday and yesterday it seemed like the perfect reason to make cakes.  Initially what started out as one indecisive cake idea quickly became a safe bet cake idea.  Having consumed more passion fruit (aka. Maracuya) in one summer than in my entire life I was perversely obsessed with making a birthday cake using maracuya juice.  An unheard of procedure, I was told it could not be done, yet not willing to take shot in the dark on my wife´s birthday cake we decided to make two instead, one maracuya, and the other orange.  In preparation of the maracuya flavored cake I gathered the strained juice of 1 kilo of maracuya´s which rendered about a cup of potently acidic juice.  The rest of the ingredients were standard of your basic cake mix, though I never was prepared to deal with how long the cake would take to bake.  At 250 degrees the cake started off smoothly baking for 45 minutes, when it came time to check the cake however, I realized that I had made a mistake somewhere in the process.  The center of the cake had not fully baked yet which left me with no other choice but to foolishly raise the temperature in a desperate attempt to salvage what little hope I had left for the cake.  At 350 degrees that cake baked for nearly another 45 minutes, yet surprisingly did not burn.  

The final result was a cake that had both the bold tropical flavor and punch of maracuya with the soft texture (at least the inside that is) of any cake.  I can´t say that my efforts were a success and I am pretty sure that the tart nature of the maracuya might overpower some lesser individuals but all in all I was quite pleased with how it turned out and as I stood there cleaning up the aftermath of our madness I am greeted by my father who in his smug nature contemplated verbally with me as to when I made the transformation from husband into housewife.  I leave him without response standing there in the kitchen all the while realizing that certain mentalities don´t die easily,


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A travel blog about living abroad in Lima, Peru and my travels to cities like Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Inti Aperture is a blog about travel, Peruvian food, culture, adventure, jobs, tourism, travel, news, teaching English, photography, and living abroad, making it a perfect resource for the traveling expat.
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