If you have been following this blog (even a little), you may have remarked that I am particular about hygiene. I felt like an anomaly until the Coronavirus reminded people to wash their hands. Although handwashing is good, it should not take a pandemic for people to practice what I believe is common sense.
I have consumed PLENTY of baked goods, and I have met several people who bake. Some of my experiences were delicious and heartwarming, while other things caused my stomach to turn. ( I wrote about one such experience here). One of my biggest peeves are bakers who do not take hygiene seriously. They behave as if those details are ‘no big deal’.
NOTE: When you are baking for other people, you should RAISE your standards. If you lower standards for yourself, that’s on YOU. For example, you are welcome to use a soiled bowl if are eating out of it yourself. However, If you are cooking for others, have the decency to use a clean bowl.
For the purpose of this article ‘Anti-Corona’ bakers are actually ‘responsible bakers’. They are the sweethearts that consistently practice proper hygiene. This article will speak of the habits Anti-Corona bakers have, so you can practice them too. Enjoy!
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Stuff Responsible Bakers do…
1. They wash their hands
This is pretty straightforward right?? AH WRONG. If you watch closely (like me) you would be aghast to see the amount of people who actually fail to practice ‘common sense’. In my observations, people neglect to wash their hands before they eat the PBJ sandwich from their lunch. This is after using filthy keyboards, opening public doors, and using their cellphone. Although Western countries have many available amenities, people still take basic hygiene for granted. For example, employees go to restaurants and begin to eat finger foods without a second thought to handwashing. Basic hygiene should NOT be taken for granted. Responsible bakers know this, because they wash their hands often.
2. They are prepared to bake
Responsible bakers are prepared to bake. This means:
- The ingredients are present and possibly already portioned
- The tray that will host the cookies is clean and ready to be used
- They will preheat the oven so the cookies come out evenly baked
Anti-corona bakers do not start baking and then realize that they are missing an ingredient, or that they actually do not have the baking sheet that they “thought” they had. This is in contrast to some individuals who will start baking and midway through the steps, they begin to search for a pan to put it in. Their search will take them underneath the sink, and over the stove. Sometimes they will turn the entire kitchen upside down while dust particles settle on their dough. In the summer, flies will buzz on their dough, but they are too busy looking for the rest of their tools and ingredients to notice. Moral of lesson: Before you begin make sure you have all ingredients and tools necessary.
- Have the butter ready
- Have the sugar ready
- Have the eggs ready and beaten
- Have the pan to melt things ready
- Have the baking sheet ready
- All tools should be clean and ready
BE READY and do not try to get ready halfway through the exercise!
3. They avoid distractions while baking
Distracted baking CAN impact the quality of the finished product. Perhaps you are a seasoned baker that mixes ingredients while solving mathematical equations. However, for others, it is more helpful to fully concentrate on the task . When we avoid distractions, it increases the likelihood of completing the task correctly. It also minimizes the need for handwash resets.
What are handwash resets?
During baking, a handwash reset is washing your hands AGAIN after touching a surface that is unclean or compromised.
Emily’s afternoon of baking will illustrate the importance of Handwash resets:
Emily is baking for an upcoming social Her phone rings and she sees that it is her boss. She stops to answer the phone with her flourly hands. After a quick conversation, she returns to kneading the dough. (A handwash reset is required because Emily touched a surface with millions of bacteria).
Emily’s phone pings so she stops to check her IG notifications. She adds a quick comment on a picture, and returns to embed large chocolate chunks in the dough. (Handwash reset is required).
Emily’s adorable 5 year old wanders into the kitchen requesting help with a broken toy. After Emily fixes the toy, she starts making little circles from the dough. ( Handwash reset is required because a child’s toy was likely on the floor).
Emily’s fiery red hair comes loose from it’s french braid. Annoyed, she adjusts it into a high ponytail. She then returns to the dough and begins to form star shapes. (Handwash reset is required because she touched her hair!)
If you are distracted, you increase your need to practice handwash resets. Frequent resets can quickly become a nuisance, so it is more logical to avoid as many distractions as possible.
4. They don’t lick their fingers
Responsible bakers do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT lick their fingers and serve! I personally do not understand the folks who lick their fingers , and dare to offer me anything. Licking your fingers and serving guests is a huge FAUX PAS. This is a sure way for bacteria and germs to spread to other people. Responsible bakers know this, and steer clear from this abominable practice. (NOTE: Some people are okay with this practice in their families. If this is okay in your family please remember that it is okay for YOUR family and not other people).
5. They clean up promptly
There is nothing more annoying than those who pile up dirty dishes as if they have a fairy God mother to do their cleaning. Cleaning up promptly is included in the routine of a responsible baker. Cleaning up after you finish baking is a better way to manage time, and it also ensures that the tools are available for others in your home that may need them. My grandma gave me this advice: “Take care of important things as they come up and do not delay responsibilities”. Think for a moment: Why have a pile up of dirty pans to clean later? Why not take care of it now? Procrastination is practicing stupidity. Responsible bakers clean up their kitchens as they go.
I hope this article has given you insight into the characteristics of responsible bakers. Add your own rules in the comments!