“It’s from a mix.”
This is something women always say when they bring a baked good to some sort of something (pro-tip on motherhood: we’re always bringing baked goods to some kind of something) and it’s not homemade. “It’s from a mix,” women say, in the same, low voice as someone admitting they have an STD.
And, like I get it. I get the shame. I understand it. Because it’s like you’re cheating (or something). Taking a shortcut. But, come on ladies. We can take some shortcuts now and again, can’t we? Can’t we give ourselves a little break?
When I first had Sam, I baked from scratch a lot. But I’ve stopped baking with two kids because it’s so terribly stressful. I want to bake with the kids but following a recipe while making sure they don’t stick their hand in the mixer, or dump half of the flour in the bowl with the other half on the counter, etc, is TOO MUCH. And then whatever we bake comes out non-tasty because correctly following a recipe is just not where we currently are in our lives together.
And I know that in raising children, the beauty is in the journey (or whatever the memes say) but in baking, that doesn’t hold true: You have to be precise. And there is no precision with children. And when I invest time and money into something, I want the outcome to be, at the very least, edible. And a lot of what I bake from scratch with my kids does not turn out to be edible. And then I get kind of mad / depressed at the wasted effort and cost — as well as the fact I don’t have cookies to eat while I’m cleaning up allll the stuff we used to make said terrible cookies.
But recently, I overcame my (self-imposed) snobbery with mixes and life is sooo much easier. It’s…dare I say it…fun? There’s no mixer needed. Just a bowl, a mix, some eggs, and butter. Today, we made these cookies and it was a fun disaster. We were interrupted a bunch of times. Sam was washing his hands and the water was too hot so I had to stop and turn the water to cold (yes, he should know how to turn the HANDLE OF THE FAUCET but there’s only so much scalding that can happen before I step in), the dog was begging at the door to be let out, Kit said she had to go potty so we had to drop everything and run her to the bathroom…ad nauseam. (Parenting small children is basically just a living through a string of interruptions, isn’t it?) The five minutes it should have taken us to stir some mix together, took us 20 minutes. I even fucked up a super easy mix because, again, it’s impossible to follow anything that is more than 6 words when dealing with children, but, hey, the cookies were still tasty! (And if we did muck up the mix to the point of no return, we’d waste, what? $3 bucks? It’s an acceptible trade off.)
I’m legit surprised by how yummy the stuff is from mixes. It’s like thousands of scientists have worked for decades on perfecting a mix recipe or something? And all you have to clean up is a bowl, a spoon, and allllll of your kitchen’s counter-tops because kids cannot be putting things on a cookie sheet or a muffin tin correctly. And that’s okay. Because: Cookies. We had cookies.
And they were delicious.