Today I did something that I don’t normally do: I baked. The reason for this isn’t important… let’s just say it was very critical for there to be some brownies in my house.
Now, I’ve been out of work a while and I am also detrimentally lazy. This means I am cheap and I don’t want to get up to go to the store. Being a man of knowledge I went to the cupboard (why the hell is it called a cupboard anyway?) and got out the tried and true Betty Crocker Cook Book to see if it had a recipe for brownies. Amazingly enough I quickly discovered the recipe for brownies (for some reason in the “cookies” section and not the desert section… I think the guy that organized this book also does the lay out for all the grocery stores I go to… can’t find anything logically organized there either) and I also found out I had all the ingredients. Within the hour I had a hot plate o’ brownies… from scratch.
Notice that last part? From scratch. Those two words are now words of power in our society. Any chuckle head can go into a grocery store now a days and pick up a quick and easy to mix packet of just about any type of baking product: cakes, cookies, biscuits, pancakes, waffles… the list goes on. The same can be said for bread products: loafs of bread, crescents, dinner rolls, etc. etc. Heck, we’ve even got machines now that allow you to just dump a bag of powder in to them along with water to mix, kneed and even bake bread! You say, “from scratch” these days and people instantly envision you milling the flour yourself or working over a bubbling cauldron chanting the forbidden words of incantation in order to cook something.
With this line of thinking, it has to make me wonder if convenience is actually making us dumber. I got a really big kick out of the entire process of baking these brownies tonight… and I had the unique sense of accomplishment since it involved more then dumping the contents of a plastic bag, two eggs and some oil into a mixer. I learned something knew and accomplished something fun.
So, is convenience making us loose skills and knowledge? (Great example: My handwriting has gone to hell now that I mostly type everything that I do instead of sitting down and writing it the way I did in school.) Will there be a day when no one knows how to even make brownies from scratch? Is the wealth of information out there on the Internet making us slowly loose our abilities to retain information because it is so readily available we don’t have to bother remembering it?
These are the thoughts that go through my head just because I baked some brownies. Makes you fear the time I actually sit down and work on something complex, don’t it?