In search of the last course.

…I didn’t notice how much I like baking or making desserts until I came to Vancouver…

I was amazed how sweet and dense the desserts here were, so that got me into baking.  As pastry seems like the perfect marriage between art and science, the process brought to mind the old days in architecture school, where I flashed back and saw myself making those conceptual sketches and models.  Given that there is no obvious correlation between the nature of architecture and pastry, they both offered a means to express art and creativity, yet on a different medium.

The culinary path doesn’t intrigue me as much as the pastry world due to my significant limitation.  Having pursued a plant-based lifestyle, I would probably hate convincing myself to taste meat dishes.  Particularly, if I’m a person who makes food, I would not be happy if I have to go against my value, unless I’m in a vegetarian environment.  In this case, the pastry path has more potential and motivation.

Let’s not even talk about how serious I enjoy having good desserts and pastries… 

I insist on having ‘good’ desserts as they don’t give me a crash after eating.  Some pastries that are so delicious and unstoppable they oftentimes make me sleepy and lethargic, while the good quality desserts don’t give such effect.  Needless to say, there must be something to do with different kinds of ingredients and methods. 

As odd as it may seem, I’ve become more mindful in selecting types of sweets and my main meals since I started baking.  My weight seems to be constant and I even feel lighter.  Perhaps the labor work of pastry making helps trim down my waist line and burn my body fat.  :)  When I plan which days I’m going to bake, I find myself increasing my workout time as well as intensity and choosing meals with less of other carbs and half of the fruit intake.

Having been a self-taught baker, I have a high chance of avoiding unhealthy commercial or store-bought desserts and pastries.  I want to know what exactly goes into my sweet creations and fully enjoy tasting (a small portion at a time).  The good thing about tasting desserts is that I don’t tend to devour them, instead slowly examine appearance, smell, texture, first taste, overall taste, and after taste of each bite.  By reviewing them leisurely, I seem to be full faster and feel more pleasure.  Although this may seem sophisticated, there are merely three key facets when I search for the ideal pastries.

// taste //

If sweet creations are merely beautiful but give us distasteful feeling, we won’t probably come back again (or not so often).  Beware of the taste! Like I mentioned earlier about some sweets that give us a crash.  Let’s not allow them to mock us…  Good desserts must taste good all the way from the first to after taste.  The least processed or all natural ingredients can only satisfy our sweet craving, but also a small step toward sustainable living.  It’s a plus, if using locally grown produces for fruit desserts.  It’s an excitement to see how mother nature’s produces merge and create fine flavour, which our ancestors were accustomed to when food couldn’t have been traveled very far. 

// look //

The desserts that taste good usually look appetizing and achieve certain level of aesthetic.  Given the incomparable delicious creations, the environment which holds them must vibrate comparable vibes, and vice versa.  Hence, by ‘look’, I also mean other components beyond the desserts themselves.  It must cover some standards of cleanliness, service, safety, and ambience that naturally form a positive atmosphere.

// understanding //

To really complete the project, the designers and patrons must come to a mutual understanding how the creations turn out and exist as they are.  Quality of work has become more important than ever.  It’s been so long that pastry has been perceived as not-so-healthy components in the food industry or perhaps merely as the last dish of a meal.  Well, I still remember.. how delightful it was when the pastry chef made it the unforgettable last course…

I’m sure styles and tastes can vary widely in everyone of us.  However, I doubt no one wouldn’t appreciate the tasteful desserts made with good quality ingredients, preferably all natural elements.

As I’m nowhere close to the baker’s path, I’m always searching for perfection, which is unrealistic. Though perfection is a myth, without such a thought, I find myself staying in the same level or going backward. 

I’ll be searching for my kind of good desserts at every turn.   Those.. which are so beautiful, actually taste wonderful, and intangibly make sense.

Even if they seem to be too beautiful to eat, I’m afraid that’s how certain bakers or pastry chefs reaffirm their commitment to the completion of their projects…

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