It’s the holiday season, which means that mixers and ovens are going to be busier than ever! I’m talking, of course, about baking, that beautiful art of transforming doughs, batters, custards, etc. into breads, casseroles, and all kinds of tasty treats for the entire family. Did you know that Americans use an average of 7 lbs of sugar over the holidays? That’s a lot of baking!
Contrast this with roasting, the art of cooking large cuts of meat in a fashion similar to that of baking. In fact, it can be difficult to distinguish the difference. We can all agree that a cake is surely baked (one would never “roast” a cake, right?) and that you roast a leg of lamb. It’s some of those “in-betweens,” though, that get a little tricky. If cuts of meat are roasted, then what about baked fish or chicken breast? If we think of desserts from the oven as baked, then what do we think about roasted pears?
The best answer, in my opinion, comes from the online cooking school, Smart Kitchen. (FYI-I am not a paid endorser for this site, I simply stumbled upon this page in my research and loved the answer.) According to the people at Smart Kitchen, these two disciplines go back to the days of open flame cooking, where you might cook something over an open flame (think spit-roasted or rotisserie chicken) or wait for the flames to die down and cook using the coals (ever cook a potato in the coals of your grill?).
This thinking makes so much sense, but also doesn’t necessarily answer the question for us, does it? I think the short answer is that our modern technology has blurred the lines between baking and roasting. Some things are still clearly lined up with one side or the other, but today’s conveniences have given us options that may not have existed with the open flame. For those types of items, I think we can safely say that no one really knows what they’re talking about and call it a day.
Suffice it to say that, this holiday season when we are getting our bake on, people have certain expectations. Hopefully, I can help with my tips on baking pies, cookies, cakes, and maybe even a casserole so that you can make it a little easier to get your baking fix in and treat your friends and family to those delicious delectables that they wait for all year long!
What do you think is the difference between baking and roasting? Leave a comment and share your story!