3 MAGIC Things in Baking and Cooking

I will never forget the first time I was absolutely fascinated and had a jaw-dropping moment from witnessing the magic of baking as a child. It was the first time I saw my mom make German pancakes--I saw the runny batter that entered the oven initially and saw it puff up to 10 times its size in the oven. I remember my mom turning the oven light on so I could watch the transformation from start to finish and I have never lost that love for watching something rise in the oven and transform to this day.

There are so many things in cooking and baking that are complete MAGIC. German pancakes might be at the top of the list, because I can hardly think of anything that is more cool than that :) But there are so many other things as well. Of course food is something we partake in every day and it makes it so much more enjoyable and fun to find the simple things that make you take a step back and appreciate the little things that make these dishes we love so special.

Here are a few of my favorite MAGIC moments in the kitchen--I’d love to hear about yours as well!


I think when things rise like the German pancakes I just mentioned, it is something truly magical. I love making dough for things like rolls or pizza dough because there are so many fun moments where you get to see that rising transformation again and again. Even from the most basic step where you are adding that yeast to the water with a little bit of sugar. 

I did this simple experiment with my kids only a couple weeks ago and we just watched that yeast feed on the sugar water and grow. It was so fun to watch my kids’ joy at something so simple. As we marveled with our noses just a few short inches from the bowl of the beginnings of pizza dough, we watched as the chemical reaction caused little “fireworks” in the mixture. It is so neat! What a fun memory I have now with my own children.

Magic Sauce.

Sauces are something else that I think can truly be magical. When you think of something like mayonnaise that starts out with eggs and by slowly adding in the oil, you watch as it emulsifies into the creamy smooth sauce it turns into. It is so cool!

My very first Thanksgiving I spent with my in-laws after marriage, I was put in charge of the menu item that all these Richardsons cared about the most: yams and apples. It seems I was put to the ultimate test. My mother-in-law wrote down the recipe for me and told me there is this “magic moment” with the sauce where you know it is ready when the color changes from clear to a glossy, translucent sauce that looks like donut glaze. I tried so hard to get it perfect, but it was clumpy, there was no magic moment and I knew I was going to show up a failure! When I called her for help, thankfully she had forgotten to write down the most important ingredient--butter. So I started over and made it up perfectly. I did witness the magic moment with the sauce and now I know what to look for and can make something from home my husband adores any ol’ time! 

Sauces fascinate me and I have always loved to make them--anything from a Hollandaise sauce to a silky curry sauce. Sauces are everything to my husband and I don’t know how to live in a world where there is no ranch dressing :)

Origins of Everyday Recipes.

In my first month of marriage I wanted to show my husband what a fantastic cook his new wife was and I wanted to make him a big breakfast with all the fixings including waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. The only problem was I didn’t have a stand mixer, or even a hand mixer of any kind. But I was determined to have perfect, homemade whipped cream so I whipped that cream for just over 20 minutes before it had it’s “magic moment” and transformed with the stiff peaks we all know and love.

Every time I think of that moment, I think--who was the first person to ever attempt this? Don’t you think it’s interesting to think of foods like this and how someone actually whipped cream for 20 minutes, just curious to see if anything might happen, not knowing that it would? That is a lot of mixing, if you are unsure of the results!

Goodness, am I ever thankful for inventive and creative people who pioneered the way to experiment in the kitchen and come up with the ideas for dishes, sauces, and desserts that we all know and love today! What would strawberry waffles or a slice of pumpkin pie be without a big dollop of whipped cream on top?!

What are some of the foods or dishes that intrigue you that you would think of as “magic”? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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