Over the many years I’ve been teaching kids about food, I have learnt quite a few tricks and short cuts. When you have 24 students and only an hour to cook with them, these tricks are often the difference between getting the class finished on time, and running into lunch. The honest truth, is that I don’t often make big cakes with my classes – they just take too long to bake – but I am always keen to show them my little trick for cutting circles of baking paper to line the bottom of cake tins.
This trick was first taught to me by my food studies teacher at university – the same lady who taught me that the difference between pies and tarts was that “tarts go topless”. She then followed up this statement with “I think that is also a rule for life”. Needless to say I have never forgotten her, or that lesson.
When ever I think of my lecturer, I’m always reminded of other teachers in my life who I remember for a variety of reasons. The biology teacher who told me attending class was optional, the tiny home science teacher who made up for her small size with a very loud voice, the French teacher who smiled even when she was yelling, the music teacher who liked to play Hernando’s Hideaway in every situation, and the maths teacher whose name was Mr McMath (true story!). I then wonder what on earth my students will remember about me in years to come. Hopefully the good things – like how to cut the perfect circle from baking paper.
To cut a perfect circle, you fold a square of baking paper into quarters, and then into eighths and sixteens so that all the folds radiate out from the centre point. Once folded, you just cut the edge off so that paper is the length of the radius of the tin you want to line. Yep it sounds confusing, so I got out the ipad and with Hannah’s help made a little movie to show you exactly what to do. It really is easy to do.
When I’m cooking cakes, I almost never line the sides of a cake tin – I just grease it well, but I always, always, line the base. It just makes taking the cake out of the tin easier.
What kitchen tricks do you know? Do you remember any of your teachers? What crazy thing did they do?