AI: Cooking or Baking?

The act of baking is the closest many people will come to being a chemist. It requires careful measurement, precise timing, and a great deal of patience to do well. Any variation from a recipe is a dangerous venture for anyone but an expert.

Cooking, by comparison, is a much more free-form creative endeavor. Things are chopped to personal preference; seasoned to taste; grilled, fried and steamed from experience; and rarely come out exactly the same twice.

Are you a cook or a baker? Do you approach it like a chemist or an artist?

Our normal Wednesday postmaster, Brian G, was unable to fulfill his duties due to an altercation last night at a Swiss Chalet which led to him being slow roasted to perfection. Police were called. Charges were laid.

The verdict? Delicious!

I would also like to note that our featured image comes courtesy of our resident poet and superhero, Reuschelles.


Ryan is a professional nerd, teaching engineering in the frozen north. Somewhat less professionally, he is a costumer, author, blacksmith, juggler, gamer, serial enthusiast, and supporter of the Oxford comma. He can be found on twitter and instagram @studentofwhim. If you like what I do here, feel free to leave a tip in my tipjar.

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  1. Baking is my secret power and I’m definitely art over chemistry. I just got the chemistry part down so long ago, that it doesn’t feel like work at all, now it’s all just the enjoyment of making it more beautiful and more delicious.

    I have offered to be the pastry chef when Skepchick or MeFi eventually builds it’s own compound somewhere. Unfortunately, there are no current plans in the works and so I continue to have the chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin scones all to myself…

  2. I think the picture speaks for me, but I’m very much in line with faith, baking so long now it’s done without thinking and I can work on making it pretty.

  3. I can bake, but I find it often too rigid – plus, I don’t care for many baked goods, except for bread.

    I love, love, love, “cooking”, though, especially sauces and sautes.

    Many things I enjoy cooking are both. Baked lasagna, for example, comes to mind,

  4. I’m too ADD for baking, usually. I manage to screw up some important detail unless it’s something bulletproof, like cookies. I prefer to stick to cooking, where I can pass off my errors as intentional.

  5. I’m a bit of both but baking is my favorite. I definitely approach it more as a scientist than an artist but I still find it relaxing and fun.

    Cooking is where I get artistic. I know what I want to make, I’ll look at some example recipes, and then I’ll follow none of them. All of my best cooking has come from this process.

  6. I think the question- do you approach like a chemist or an artist draws a completely unnecessary line between what chemists are and what artists are. A good chemist, when working, takes what he knows, applies it to a problem and in many cases has to problem shoot, become creative, learn from a process of many mistakes (as I have done in the kitchen and in the lab). Artists are known for their creativity, but it is very saddening that to be deemed a scientist or “chemist” that you can’t be creative- creativity in chemistry, is exciting, leads to fascinating discoveries, appealing reactions and new methods, much that creativity in art does. Sometimes to make something really exciting happen in science, you completely reject certain “knowns” in the field and just follow an idea that you think shows some promise regardless of background. I think I cook like a artist, with an expertise in certain spices (much like an oil painter), but also like a chemist in that I try to invent and investigate new ways of creating something delicious (much like Prascher with his insistence on expressing jellyfish genes in bacteria). Either way, you describe it, artist or chemist, it’s the same and the lines drawn between the two make a sad assumption.

  7. I love to bake, I’m just not very good at it. I really need to stop being so afraid of the oven. I really am. I am totally convinced one of these days I am going to set it on fire. I’m mostly in with the lazy cooking because I am not good at it and afraid of the stove.

  8. I find both cooking and baking rewarding, but I lean toward baking as the structure of the recipes appeals to the logical portion of my mind. Improvisation is difficult for me and baking gives me a strong platform for experimentation. Certain things must be done for the recipe to succeed, but after that, there’s room to play with flavors and visual appeal. Cooking can be too random for me.

  9. I like both. Cooking definitely has more room for improvisation, but so does baking if you learn to bake by ratio rather than recipe, and I learned to cook by recipe and only became comfortable with being improvisational later.

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