Baking is one of my favorite hobbies. I started making birthday cakes for people at work mostly so I could bake and try out decorating techniques (that never really worked out) on unsuspecting people who just wanted the sugar. I have always liked to bake and that extended to the interminable summer dinners when I lived with my parents that seemed to consist largely of strawberry shortcake.
My dad is what my mom calls a ‘hobby farmer’ which means in addition to the variety of animals we also had some small crops. Among them were strawberries. Have you ever had to spend your summer under a hot sun hoeing weeds around freaking strawberry plants? Not fun. Although I, cleverer than my siblings, discovered pretty fast that if you weren’t helpful, Dad didn’t want you to help. So a couple perfectly healthy strawberry plants were slaughtered while I feigned ignorance over what was strawberry and what was weed. I was relegated to the house. Drat.
Part of the trade off was that I hulled, washed, mashed and froze the berries when my brother and sister brought them inside. So much easier, thank you. One night I also volunteered to make the biscuits for the strawberry shortcake.
They came out of the oven and were so beautiful; lightly golden brown and light and fluffy.
We all poured strawberries of the warm biscuits and dug in. And then noticed something odd. Have you ever heard of Pop Rocks? They were this great candy the fizzled and popped in your mouth, kind of like Rice Krispies to nth degree. Well that’s what the strawberry shortcake was doing. And then the biscuits turned purple.
How strange. What was going on here?
The mystery of the fizzing purple strawberry shortcake was soon resolved but people were not happy to have their dessert delayed. Particularly not my grandfather. My mom quickly made another batch of biscuits and in end everyone had their non chemistry experiment sweet fix. But what had gone wrong?
I learned an important lesson that day; there is a difference between baking powder and baking soda. Huh. Who knew? Well probably a lot of people did but not I. I do now though.