Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baking in Czech

I bake. I LOVE to bake. Anyone who's been around me, or especially anyone who's lived with me, anytime in the past probably 8 years has reaped the benefits of my baking. I'm no pastry chef, but I do a pretty good job.

I miss my pink KitchenAid mixer. I miss my beautiful clean mixing bowls and cookie sheets, used exclusively for cookies. I miss words like "cup" and "tablespoon"! I miss things like 350F. I's not that hard to convert those things to grams and Celsius, but I miss the familiarity of working my way through MY kitchen with MY tools!

So, after being in a foreign country for about 6 months, I finally decided to attempt to bake something. That was the easy part. I talked to my roommate about the Czech words for "flour", "baking soda" and "baking powder" and headed out to the grocery store. I thought brown sugar would be easy...but after two stores just opted for the unbleached sugar to use instead. At the first grocery store I showed the woman the words for "baking powder" because I couldn't see it anywhere. She finally handed me this little packet. (They put everything in little packets here.)

Then I asked for "soda" because I still didn't see that either. She was puzzled, looked around for a bit and finally handed me "saf-instant".

There was no peanut butter (for the peanut butter cookies) to be found at store #1, so I headed off to store #2. I was skeptical about the "soda" since my roommate told me it would say "soda" on it. At store #2, where I picked up the way over priced Skippy, I found something with the word "soda" in it. Upon arriving home, my roommate told me that the first woman sold me yeast. (And I'm not 100% sure that the "soda" I got is "baking soda".)

There is nothing at my flat with which to weigh anything. So, against all of my fine baking instincts...I had to EYEBALL all of my ingredients! It was painful!

However....despite all of these things...I got compliments on my peanut butter cookies. They were NOT phenomenal....I wasn't all that thrilled, they were certainly not my best work....but they were a crowd pleaser!