Journalist Regina Brett once stated, “If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.” Indeed, the art of has manifested in many forms during this generational transfer. Archaeologists combing the ruinous remains of ancient Egypt have recovered an early form of yeast utilized to bake an archaic variation of sourdough bread. Experts have also uncovered evidence that ancient Roman bakers were the first to formulate a recipe for cheesecake, a creamy concoction still enjoyed today. Ancient Greeks proved especially fond of pudding. However, the pudding of ancient Greece strays far from our modern understanding of pudding as a sweet treat; Greece’s bygone bakers prepared their puddings by stuffing animal organs with meat and grain. This meaty meal can be consumed in modern Britain where bakers are famous for their kidney and steak puddings.
Modern bakers continue to conjure a variety of interesting ingredients to create culinary masterpieces. Japanese chefs have earned worldwide fame by infusing their sweet treats with pit viper venom, an ingredient the chefs take much care in obtaining. In fact, these brave creators coat their bodies in ice cream to prevent the pit vipers from using their heat-sensing ability to strike their human handlers. During the 1800s, pineapples represented a status symbol as only the wealthiest families could afford to import this exotic fruit. Historical records show that members of the lower class could rent a pineapple to display as a centerpiece at gatherings to create an illusion of supposed splendor. Of course, desserts containing pineapples were coveted as a luxury few could savor. Prior to the American Civil War, baking took on a political hue as debate ensued over the ethicality of a common baking ingredient: cane sugar. Because cane sugar was largely produced by slave laborers, many abolitionist bakers opted to substitute maple syrup in the place of cane sugar.
Bakers have remained a determined lot, creating and breaking a plethora of world records. Bakers in Canada produced the world’s largest chocolate brownie. This sugary behemoth weighed in at over two tons. Not to be outdone by the neighbors to the north, Texan bakers constructed a life-sized gingerbread house calculated to contain a whopping thirty-five million calories. In 2014, the largest cake to ever exit an oven appeared in international headlines, a confection containing two hundred and sixty layers.
Baking has also been integrated into the world of medicine. Renaissance physicians borrowed the marshmallow to treat sore throats… no pun intended! Although no longer an accepted practice, the pharmacists of yesteryear took to the kitchen to produce marzipan as an aid to patients suffering from poor health. Additionally, psychologists have divined a method for utilizing a person’s choice of pie to reveal key aspects of their personality. For example, those preferring chocolate pie are defined by their loving nature, while lovers of apple pie tend to be practical.
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