The world of making food is often split between people who love to cook and people who love to bake. Every dessert party that I throw I have a number of people come up to me and tell me that they absolutely love the desserts and they wished they could bake the way I do. Then they confess that they don’t really bake very well, but they are more of a cook.
That’s when the conversation veers toward the difference between cooking and baking. To most people cooking is an art. It’s something that you can be creative at, designing a dish on the fly. While you cook, you can adjust the seasonings, you know what to put in the pan/pot/skillet to make a close proximity of the end product and you can taste while cooking, making adjustments as you go along.
The argument then follows that while cooking is art, baking is a science that requires strict adherence to measurements and instructions. You make a mistake in the measurement, and the cake falls or the cookies burn. While this is true, this discounts the fact that once you understand the underlying reason behind the measurements and the instructions, you can start taking liberties with them. Once you understand the WHY behind the rules, you can start bending them, changing them, making them yours. Baking just requires that one extra step on understand.
And that’s when I tell them why I love baking so much. I love following rules (or, more to the point, learning how to break them) and I love mixing batter together, using gobs of butter and sugar. I love figuring out the why behind what I’m doing. And I absolutely love the feeling of putting something that can only be described as goop in the oven, and having the kitchen and the entire apartment start to smell of something wonderful. And then there’s the moment of opening the oven up, where you find that goop has magically transformed into the perfectly brown pie/cake/cookie/brownie/loaf of bread that I’ve made. Baking may be science, but it’s also magic. A wonderful accessible magic that anyone and everyone should partake in.
Everyone needs to eat. Whether it’s the Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey and all the side fixings to the quick sandwich you make while running out the door, people need to eat on a daily basis and that inevitably means that people need to cook. But BAKING. People don’t eat dessert every day. They eat desserts on special occasions. When you make cookies, you don’t bake a batch just for yourself (or perhaps you do, in which case, lucky you!). You bake for yourself, and for other people too. Baking inherently is for sharing, for enjoying, for celebrating. Cooking is necessary. A need. Baking is special. It’s a want. And that is why I love to bake.
A macrobiotic vegan friend of mine (the man doesn’t even drink tap water) once told me that despite the fact that he doesn’t eat meat, doesn’t eat processed wheat, doesn’t eat refined sugar, he would go home to his grandma’s home in Tennessee once a year for the holidays and she would make meatloaf and fried chicken and collard greens with bacon and buttermilk biscuits from lard and sweet potato pie and pecan pie and red velvet cake. And throughout the entire trip, he would eat everything placed in front of him. I asked him why he would do that, why he didn’t tell his grandma that he would prefer a tofu scramble over chicken and waffles. And he responded back to me “because when you eat the food that someone makes for you, you are eating their love. You are eating the love.” Not everyone has the luxury to eat whatever is placed in front of them (due to allergies, health reasons, religious or moral reason) but that doesn’t mean they should be left out of the love. This website is my attempt at letting you all learn how to Eat the Love.
Raina Lee says
I love the story of how you come up with this name! xoxo
Dina Avila says
Your new site is absolutely gorgeous! I love the new pic too! Great anecdote on eating what someone serves you despite food preferences. I always say, even yogi’s will eat meat if they’re someone’s guest and it is offered to them.
Eat the Love!
Thank you! I’m glad you stopped by and read my “about” page! I’m pretty happy with the new site, and of course, I live by the motto. You gotta eat the love!
Dina Avila says
Oh and thanks for listing me on your blogroll!
Of course! Remember me when you land that Saveur job okay? 😉
Dina Avila says
I will, I will! Although, I’ve shifted my focus a bit for my first pitch. How does Hawaii sound?
I love your new site! I love reading all of your posts, because they are not only full of humor, but are deeply personal. And, you really feel the love. xoxo
Thank you! That means so much to me. It’s what I strive for.
After one look at your Ginger Peach and Strawberry Cream Cobbler and the story behind it, I am happily hooked on your site 🙂
Thank you Shawn! That post, obviously, was a very personal one. I’m glad it hooked you!
Damn, this new site design is fancy!! Me loves. I feel like I should put on a business suit before I read it.
Didn’t you read my FAQ? It’s required that you wear a business suit when you read my blog! I demand that you go and change out of those sweats with the word “juicy” on the butt right now!
Also, what were you thinking wearing Juicy sweats? That’s so 2004.
Hi. I don’t always stop to comment on people’s blogs but there are a few things that caught my attention with yours. 1. I love the name of your blog. It sounds very familiar – if you have a moment, check out mine. Its not Eat The Love but Baked In Love 🙂 http://bakedinlove.blogspot.com/ The word Love is my favourite! 2. You live in SF! I am planning a trip there in 2 months so will scan your blog for the best bakeries to visit. 3. You have a beautiful blog, most likely filled with beautiful recipes and pictures. All the best with your work and baking. Nice to have stumbled across your site!
Hi Stella! Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to browse through my site, but I don’t do a lot of baker/restaurant reviews in my blog. That said, when you are visiting San Francisco, you must stop by Tartine Bakery which has great pastries. I’m partial to their croissants and morning buns, but recently a friend raved about their banana cream tarts which has a thin layer of dark chocolate caramel.
Anita Menon says
A very convincing and endearing story. I enjoyed every moment I spent on this beautiful blog of yours!
Thank you for stopping by!
A lovely website for sure and you and your partner are eye candy to boot.
I am looking for more information in regards to the gathering you assemble every month at 18 reasons.
Every month, on the second Wednesdays from 7pm to 9pm, I co host a DIY Dessert event at 18 Reasons. It’s a drop in event, where people from all walks of life (professional pastry chefs, home bakers, non-bakers and general dessert lovers) swing by with or without their own homemade desserts and to socialize with other people who love desserts.
Every month is a different theme (January’s theme was “make a new dessert, as it was a new year” while February’s theme was “chocolate” and March’s theme is “citrust”), so check the 18 Reasons calendar to find out what this month’s theme is. There is a sliding donation scale of $1-10 if you are bringing desserts and $10 for just eating desserts. If you are curious about the event, feel free to read about the January event blog post. Hope to see you there!
Marta Kosmyna says
I love your blog 🙂 it’s so cute, the food is delish, and you’re a great writer that’s entertaining to read! an inspiration for little wanabe bloggers like me!
you’re definetly going on my favorites <— place of honor yay!
Yay! Thanks for putting me in a place of honor! I’m touched.
Love love LOVE the blog! Thank you for sharing your sweetness Irvin. : )
And thank you for visiting!
S. B. Hadley Wilson says
OMG, I’m now just reading this. I completely agree with your friend from Tennessee. I always try to eat what a host serves (unless I’ll have a bad reaction to it).
Yes, agreed! It’s not only polite, but you understand more where the person’s from when you partake of their food. Food is culture.
Wow, I only just read your post on cheesecake bars for Japan’s bake sale and your About page, but I’m already hooked. You’re brilliant, keep up the great work.
Thanks so much Val! It’s comments and people like you that keep me blogging away!
I’m SO glad I finally found your blog…have no clue what took me so long but I’ve been browsing around – your writing is so great! And I LOVE the “eat the love” story.
vijitha shyam says
It was great to meet you last Saturday (bake sale). I always love your blog and just popped in to say that keep blogging. I am your big fan 🙂
Christine (HammockGal) says
“because when you eat the food that someone makes for you, you are eating their love. You are eating the love.”
I love that saying from your friend, it is so true! That is what we were taught growing up, that unless for health reasons, you simply cannot do it, to at least try everything, or eat it all if you enjoy it. Because every bite that you do eat, is full of love, love that whomever cooked it gave to it with every stir of the spoon, every teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, tablespoon of goodness that they poured into it.
What a wonderful outlook and reasons behind ‘your’ name. Kudos!
( @downbythehearth )
Stumbled upon your blog and it put a smile on my face 🙂 and God knows I needed a little cheering. So thank you 🙂 It is an inspiration what you do and have and what you strive to achieve. “Eat the love” – simple words but with a whole lot of meaning to it. Love it! I’ll definitely be a regular, visiting your blog! 🙂
Nicole Nared says
“Baking inherently is for sharing, for enjoying, for celebrating. Cooking is necessary. A need. Baking is special. It’s a want. And that is why I love to bake.”
That’s exactly why I love to bake too! (You took the words right out of my mouth.) Baking is all about the sharing. So thank you for sharing!
PS Just discovered your site!
Jayne Georgette says
What a lovely introduction to baking. Although I do not like to break the rules, because when I do I obtain a broken product. However, it must be fun if you can do it. I also love to teach about baking – understanding the science behind baking and satisfying our curious mind with daring baking.
Keep up the good work. I will be coming back for more.
Jayne Georgette says
Could you please do me a favor and correct the misspelling in my previous comment? I did not mean to send it yet, but my fingers are too quick. Thanks
Wow, great blog! I look forward to reading more interesting recipes.
p.s. I absolutely loooove Maui!!
Found your blog through my friend Ben Rhau – it’s great! I love “the Gastro” – I refer to that area as my favorite culinary corridor 🙂
yay! Welcome Beth. So glad you found me. Isn’t Ben awesome?
Linda @spiceboxtravels says
Hi Irvin, Just found your blog recently through Twitter. It’s awesome and makes me very hungry! I hope to make it to one of your DIY dessert events one of these days. See you on Twitter. Linda (@spiceboxtravels)
[email protected] says
Wow, this is beautifully written. I just love how you named your blog and that quote from your friend! “because when you eat the food that someone makes for you, you are eating their love. You are eating the love.” 🙂 Very clever.
I happened upon your blog via The Tomato Tart via Mission Local’s Veganize It! articles Sabrina was doing from May to August of this year and I met you through Riyanna. Cute blog, cute name history. I just started my own blog. http://www.herbivorewhore.tumblr.com. Pretty bare bones now, but would love it if you checked it out! You still having those lovely dessert parties?
I’m so glad I stumbled upon your website (I think I was on Punchfork at the time). I too am passionate about baking and your explanation on why you love to bake makes total and absolute sense to me. Thank you for putting my feelings into words so well. I’m a sucker for a guy that bakes!
Wishing you well in all your endevours and continued success with your blog and in life.
Thanks for sharing the love,
I really enjoyed reading through your blog and your posts. Fantastic blog!!!
“because when you eat the food that someone makes for you, you are eating their love. You are eating the love.” this is like the best thing about food i’ve heard so far and so true.
Jessica L. says
Just came across your blog and I absolutely love it. Your stories are hilarious, and I’ve already bookmarked a ton of your recipes!
baker in disguise says
I read everything you wrote ..its almost as if you wrote down everything I’ve been wanting to say…right from the difference between baking and cooking.. and how everyone thinks its all science when in reality there is a lot of creativity also involved.. how you never only bake for yourself but for others.. and the last bit about eating the love!! beautiful… you have an absolutely gorgeous blog!!
a farmer in the dell says
Love your blog! so happy I found you
Arthur in the Garden! says
I was looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe, & Google led me to your blog, specifically to the post “On Jealousy and Chocolate Cake” & I became one of those awful people who reads their phone in the grocery store- I love that you write so well, & while I couldn’t find the ingredients for the special touches in your cake in our local Food Lion, I’m definitely going to give it a try when I make it to the health food store next time. You’re so real, and charming, and brilliant with your delicious magical science experiments 🙂 I’ve definitely found my new favorite dessert spot!
Lily Greene says
Love this!! Great blog.
Samantha Samonte says
SWEET! I kinda knew it while pondering over your blog title… haha and it’s so true! …coming from a rather close knit family, I can totally relate. We don’t always have a choice but yea, eating the love is giving the love as well.
This writing is truly inspired. I agree that baking is a beautiful science; watching that “goop” transform into something delicious. The excitement and anticipation of peeking into the oven to see the process is something I stay in on Friday nights to experience. Sometimes.
As you say, baking is something to understand. Only with this understanding can you begin to change and experiment and make baking your own. Any recommended resources that I can check out to better and truly understand baking? Thanks! Love your blog!
Thanks for stopping by!
Check out Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher. I don’t really use the recipes in the book but the information she gives in her book about the ingredients and techniques and what they do is great. Another book to check out would be Sherry Yard’s Secrets to Baking where she gives master recipes and shows the relationships between certain desserts. Finally I’m quite fond of In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. It is a great resource for ingredients and a wonderful reference book for baking.
Thanks! Can’t wait to get my hands on those books!
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thank you so much for the anecdote about your vegan friend visiting his grandmother. I never thought I would read about someone who has the same philosophy as I do.
Keep up the good work!
Mannn your blog is just out of this world, It’s an inspiration for beginners like who have just stepped into this huge world of food. You inspire me & keep up the good word keep cooking 😀 😀
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love your blog,it is really friendly and lot of ressources,thank you for the amazing value you share with us.
Just stumbled upon your wonderful site tonight, looking for the perfect eggs. I topped them on Tender Ruby Reds with uncured bacon and Mexican soft cheese. Thanks for sharing all the great stories on love, travel, and food. Your site is like a good novel, I couldn’t break away to cook my duck this evening. I still got dinner on the table with a new way to cook soft eggs!
Thank you for brighten my day!
Oh my gosh. And thank you for leaving this comment and brightening MY day! Happy holidays to you!
Kim B. says
That’s a great story and philosophy. And it’s exactly what my Italian husband always tells me. “What’s the most important ingredient in any dish?” he’ll ask. “Amore.”
You are inception for me. Thank you!
HI! I just stumbled upon your blog and I absolutely adore you!
I absolutely LOVE your friend’s quote. I choose to be pescetarian for personal reasons, not health reasons. When I go to someone’s house and eat meat, my boyfriend or roommate will ask why I’m eating the dish since I don’t eat meat… This is the exact reason! Someone put thought and love into what they made and wanted to share that with me – I refuse to turn that away.
Thank you for giving me the perfect response 🙂
I love how you describe the difference between cooking and baking. What you mention is totally true…that it requires strict adherence to measurements and instructions, but one you understand the reasons behind it you can feel free to take risks and get a good result.
Please allow me to share an amazing Website where people can find a great selection of baking and pastry holidays around the world, so more people can enjoy the magic of baking as you do! 🙂 https://www.bookculinaryvacations.com/all/c/baking-sweets
No doubt I will follow your blog, your recipes are mouth watering!
Liam Reid says
There are some great stuff here mate. Keep up the good work.
Awesome blog and awsome recipes! Not to mention they are so tasty!
I`ve tried some of them myself and have to admit it that the Marble Rum Cake really got me.
Keep up the wonderful job and recipes!
in my opinion bake is more dificult i por example always lost the correct point kkkk
Am thanh hinh anh xe hoi says
I love the way you write and share your niche! Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.
I love your blog and read with pleasure.
So, I wonder: do you accept guest or sponsored posts on eatthelove.com? It’s an article about “How to brew good espresso?”, so it would be a perfect fit for your blog. If you are interested, I’ll gladly send some materials to post on your blog. Waiting for your answer.
All the Best, Brendon
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Lone Mie says
Hope to find you in blessed health and prosperity.
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Also, we might be interested to place in-content text link (placement of a text link on an existing blog post on your blog) please do let me know price per text link placement as well.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
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