In which I share random baking blog thoughts while my dog barks at me.

You may have noticed that my blog design is pretty (I can say that because I didn't take the picture--thank you, photographer of ingredients!) but sparse. It's sparse because I have a few specific preferences regarding blogs, developed as a blog reader, that I have to insist upon. (Insist upon when I have arguments about it with pretend people in my head because no one else is arguing with me about it.)

1. I despise ads on websites and blogs. De. Spise. Them. I don't want to see an ad. I don't want to hear an ad. I don't want to click on an ad. I ESPECIALLY don't want an ad to SLOW DOWN the loading of a blog or web page. I realize that bloggers typically desire ads because that's how they make money from the blog. I don't blame them for wanting to earn money; we should all want to earn money. However, you will never, ever, EVER see or hear an ad on my blog. Period. It will never happen. Although I'm a college Composition instructor, I also have a degree in technical communications and am, thus, obsessed with document design. It makes me think things like, "Seriously, don't touch that margin. I will straight up murder you." And then I feel bad because I understand that my reactions to improper document formatting might be a little extreme, and then I eat candy.

Web site ads are ugly. They are poorly designed. They are disruptive. They are slow. They are unacceptable. It is my promise to you that you will NEVER have to contend with them on my blog. I'm going to fumble my way through this cookbook, and I am going to do it while being just as poor as I always have been.

2. A kind reader pointed out to me earlier this week that there are no comments sections for the blog entries, and comments sections are really very standard and expected for blogs, especially baking/cooking/recipe blogs. There are no comment sections because I developed the blog site on Wix.com, and Wix doesn't yet have that functionality. It's fairly stupid, but there it is. At first, I was frustrated over it, but then I realized that I don't even like comments sections and would much rather people find me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/buttereggs1) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/buttereggs1) to converse with me or each other about recipes or baking products or dogs or the X Files revival or candy (you know, whatever). I don't really need another forum to check; do you? I'm going to wager that none of us does.

3. I do realize that a "follow" function is also expected and would be very helpful. I've never followed a blog; I just go to the blog site to look for new entries periodically. So, I don't know much about it, but I understand why people use the feature. They don't want to have to check periodically. They just want to be notified. There is no typical follow function on Wix sites, either, but they do allow, I think, for some sort of email or subscription sign-up thingymadoogie, and I did add an RSS feed button for people who use RSS feeds for subscribing to web sites or blogs. If I find an acceptable subscription-type function, I will add it, as long as it doesn't slow down page-loading times or annoy me in any other way. (You might want to keep your expectations low; see #1.)

4. You will find typos in my blog entries. I will find typos in my blog entries (and will fix them when I do). I am a terrible close reader of my own writing and have no problem admitting this to you or to my students because, despite that fact that I'm awesome because I love to watch X Files and eat candy, I'm, surprisingly, fairly imperfect. However, I do apologize ahead of time for this weakness of character. (Although, some of the time, my character is above reproach.)

5. I didn't realize before I started baking various recipes in How to Bake how perfect it is for this type of personal baking challenge. Unlike those found in many cookbooks, the recipes in this book are for relatively small quantities of food. It is not difficult to make a small cake in a loaf pan or a single loaf of bread or one pan of dinner rolls. It is perfect for my purposes--and it's fairly inexpensive, too. So, if I happen to make something that doesn't catch on fire or have the consistency of a brick and you think you might want to try it, too, you should! And then tell me about it on Facebook or Twitter (see #2)! Paul has chosen to include recipes that are designed to help wanna-be bakers become successful bakers, clearly, and, as a result, I think of him as my teacher.

(He's the grown-up equivalent of my piano teacher from my youth. I envision him scolding me for my lack of interest in baking theory and insisting that I bake more than just pies. Then I'll make a joke about my inadequacies as a baker, and we'll laugh gaily together before he relunctantly lets me bake another pie again with the promise that I try to find passion in my heart for a tart next time.)

And that is my final random baking blog thought. Truman, rescue hound #2, is no longer barking at me.

Please stay tuned tomorrow for (drum roll, please) the Victoria Sponge! I can't say I'm not excited about this one--two sponges sandwiching fresh whipped cream and homemade strawberry jam? YES, PLEASE. Sally forth, baking soldiers! Tomorrow we go into battle. With sponges.