"Oh, darn it," my mom said, acting disappointed, "this oven doesn't bake either."
It was 1981 and my sister and I were standing in the kitchen of our new house staring up at her. I was so disappointed to hear of our bad luck. The house that we had just left in Lake Arrowhead had an oven that didn't bake and now it seemed that that the new one didn't either.
Mom could make us delicious savory concoctions in the oven including scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and stuffed mushrooms, but something about the circuitry of the oven didn't allow it to bake sweet dishes or breads. No cakes, no cookies, and no pies. While other mothers had the scent of chocolate chip cookies coming out of their ovens, ours often sat cold. At two different houses, mom convinced us that she would love to bake sweets for us, but that it was impossible with our ovens.
Trusting (or gullible) as I was, I went along with this story, sometimes relating it to the parents of friends who probably didn't know what to say to my pronouncement that our oven didn't bake. I went along with the story until the day of the Ethiopian Bake Sale. There was a famine in Ethiopia, and we were all asked to bring baked items to school for a bake sale fundraiser. Mom sent brownies that she had made, and the jig was up -- I finally realized that the oven did bake, but that it was my mother who didn't unless Ethiopians were involved.
Not surprising given my upbringing, but I've never been a baker. I make a cake or cookies every once in a while, but baking has always been a mystery that I have not mastered. That is why it was significant that I listed "bake something" as a task on my 20 Things to do in 30 Days. I needed to tackle bread. So finally, nearly two years after the no-knead bread craze, I made my own loaf and it's in the oven as I write this.
I hope my oven bakes!