Monday, May 16, 2011

Baked goods

I love to bake and love the taste of freshly baked cookies, brownies, cake, etc. I'm a freak, I know.

Earlier in the year, I decided it would be a good way to bond with my daughter to start baking together. I bought her a tiny rolling pin, a tiny whisk, and little heart-shaped measuring cups. I realized a few things:

1) Homemade pie crust is not that hard to make and tastes beyond amazing.

2) My cookies and brownies from scratch don't taste as good as the ones from the mix.

3) I don't like nutmeg.

The baking was a bonding thing, and since I didn't want to weigh 500 pounds at the end of the year, I started bringing the results of our baking to work the next day (well, 75% of the results). I was new at my job and I'll admit that I believed bringing baked goods for the nursing staff or the team meetings might earn me some early brownie points (no pun intended). I love it when people bring in treats to work, and our unit only gets stuff maybe twice a month, if that. The food always got eaten.

However, I was recently discussing this online and someone pointed out to me that my bringing in baked goods could have actually made people resent me. What with people being on diets and my providing this unhealthy temptation, plus maybe some sense of obligation they'd feel to me to pay me back for the treats.

I'm not entirely convinced, so I'd like to take it to the peanut gallery. If someone at your work brought in baked goods for the unit/office/etc maybe once a week or every other week, how would you feel about it?

a) Love it! Baked goods are yummy!

b) I'd feel like the person was trying too hard to get people to like them

c) Resentful because of my diet

d) Neutral

e) Other

I don't know how to make surveys so you're just going to have to reply below.


  1. Love it.
    Also do it myself. I'm known for my cakes...completely homemade with homemade frosting.
    Our office manager makes these amazing sugar cookies. Our filing clerk makes this cheesecake to die for. A secretary makes brownies. We have someone bring in something at least once a week.
    ummm...hopefully someone will bring something in today!

  2. In my experience, anyone who gets super resentful about is probably also resentful about many other relatively insignificant things. I doubt it's worth not bringing in food just to try to appease them.

    I may be biased, though, 'cause I would kill for a brownie right now...

  3. Once a week might be a bit often and create some pressure for people to respond in kind, but I don't think anyone would be resentful.

  4. I take stuff to work, and originally I used to drop them in the staff room when no one was in there. And generally people are pleasantly surprised, and happy to eat free food.
    The ones on a diet complain about it, but eat it.
    The ones not on a diet, are happy and eat.

    Now they know when it's me, and they still eat...

    plus if you encourage people to act in kind, that doesn't really seem like a bad thing. Sharing is caring after all.

  5. Love it.

    I'm a health freak, so don't actually eat them (or at least I make a valiant attempt before breaking down, having half and feeling guilt-ridden for the rest of the afternoon), but I think it's nice when people think of others at work. I think people who COMPLAIN about people bringing goodies to work are being a little self-indulgent.

    And as an M3, I feel like it is sort of my responsibility to bring something for the staff when I leave a rotation. Attendings are paid (sort of) to put up with me, but nursing and the staff are not. If they are cool to me and help me out, it's my job to bring goodies at the end. Also it helps out any following med students by leaving a good impression. No one cares if I know the pathophys of hereditary angioedema, but DAMN everyone remembers a good coffee cake. Can't hurt my evals, either, right?

  6. I do it all the time. I have only had one resentful comment. I do not know if other people are secretly resentful, but many other staff members are happy!
    Who wants a grouchy, hungry nurse with low blood sugar?

  7. I definitely do this on occasion. Really if someone is on a diet then they're already watching what they're eating so they can watch themselves not eat baked goods that have been brought in. Everyone does not have to accomodate them because they've made a personal choice. I say keep on =) There are a lot of people that appreciate it.

  8. I love it and also do it (night shift RN here)- I don't hang in front of people making sure they eat it, usually I leave it and pick up an empty pan the next day. Personally I think there is way too much emphasis in dieting in avoiding all "bad" foods (usually anything with sugar or saturated fat) and that creates unreasonable cravings and feelings of 'failure' with a diet for being human - a tiny slice of brownie or one cookie is not going to wreck a diet, people, and it is no more meanly tempting people away from their diets than having a vending machine downstairs. I do hear people grump when there is no healthy snacks available, but have seen the same people bypass fruit and vegetable trays for the cookie plates when they are - so feh on them.

  9. As someone with insulin resistance who wants to bond over cooking with my kid...

    We make healthy stuff.

    Like Cajun toasted pumpkin seeds.

    Veggie pizza (the appetizer with the cream cheese spread, which is kind of fattening, but you can hide it with all the veggies).

    Kale chips.


    So why not try for something healthy?

    You can also usually halve the sugar in recipes (especially for quick breads like banana bread) and then if you add in some ground flax, you can bill them as reduced sugar, high fiber goodies and they will still taste amazing.

    There are always those black bean brownies to try.

    I was (am?) an amazing cookie maker, but have had to give it up except for holidays. Recently I've learned to make delicious gluten free sugar free cookies (that I have to hide or else they disappear, they are that good). So healthy cookies are possible.

    Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe book is a good place to start if you want to improve your cookie game.

    PS I suspect I'm rambling. I'm sleep deprived. Sorry.

  10. People in my class bring in baked goods all the time, and everyone loves it. I was fasting one day and it was kinda torture to watch the delicious baked goods go around, but I didn't complain about it...

  11. a, or whatever choice was 'love it.' peeps that might be offended/resentful/tempted.....phooey.

  12. Love it. I'm dieting, but can build in enough wiggle room to enjoy something delicious now and again.

  13. I love it! It is a nice surprise that no one is forcing me to partake of.

    Also, nutmeg is gross.

  14. Love it! Who doesn't like free food? :)

  15. @pissed off patient Can I please have the recipe for the gluten-free cookies? I'm looking for some to make from scratch (Celiac since 2010), and I haven't found a good recipe yet :(

    As for the goodies question:
    I bring in stuff once in a blue moon, but I don't resent people who bring things I can't eat. It's my problem that I can't eat the delicious brownies, and I don't expect others to cater to me (unless I'm an invited guest to something). In any case, I usually bring in something healthy to share anyway, and some of my friends even bring in GF things for me when they bake :)

    If people are resentful, tell them to go climb a tree :-p

  16. Love it!

    I never feel resentful when others bring food, even though I am usually pretty strict about what I eat (especially on nights).

    When I bring food I usually bring something unhealthy and something healthy. That way the dieters or health freaks don't feel left out.

    I am also crazy obsessive about bringing things that can't be contaminated as the shift drags on (i.e. no dips, nothing like a bag that you can stick your hand into). I know not everyone practices the same level of anal-retentive hand washing as I do so I don't want to eat tostadas that have been coated with MSRA and cheese dust.

  17. I only get resentful about people pushing food on me when I'm not in the mood. Case in point: Mom, who believes that I with my BMI of 22 (at least 10 lower than anyone else in the extended family except for my dad who's the only other person at a healthy body weight) am dangerously underweight and need to pig out on junk all day, every day when I visit. I literally gain 15lbs a week when I visit because I give in when she pressures me because I don't feel like fighting over junk food, for goodness sake.

    If you're not pushy, though, I'd love it. I'm not a health freak, so I do like sweets every now and again... but I'd like to keep my BMI in the healthy range. :)

  18. @ Katherine:

    Here's the recipe:

    If you can do sugar, I would suggest 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup instead of artificial sweeteners.

    Also the flour used is blanched almond flour from Honeyville. So you can't be allergic to nuts (in which case, I've had some rice flour cookies that were pretty good, but never made them myself due to carb content).

    To me, they taste like chocolate chip cookies. It seems they taste that way to everyone else too since I've caught my mother-in-law and husband sneaking them when I wasn't looking. The toddler loves them too.

    Eventually I'm going to adapt the recipe into a crackle top molasses spice cookie. Just haven't had the time.

    Also, if you aren't reading Elana's Pantry blog (just Google the name it will pop up), you should start. Her cookbooks are good too.


  19. Love it!

    Honestly, I've never worked in an environment where people weren't incredibly excited to have baked goods lying around.

  20. UNLESS the people in your OFFICE complain, keep bringing the goods in. Why should everyone else be deprived?

    Get the baked goods out of YOUR house! :)

  21. I think it's fine. The only time I've become annoyed when someone did this is when the person who baked is also being pushy and wanting me to eat. If I'm trying to watch what I eat I can avoid the baked goods but it is hard to say no to the person who baked then, KWIM?

  22. If a med student on a rotation with me brought in baked goods, I would DEFINITELY resent it. Once you're an attending, any way you can grease the wheels and make people like you better is only going to help things along. People on diets always have the choice of not eating your treats.

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  24. Neutral - I believe it's a nice gesture, but I can also see why dieters are bummed about one more temptation. I don't think it's your fault that people feel resentful about having treats around, I just can kind of see how it feels like one more thing to have to exercise willpower about.

    I am sure that this has no bearing on whether you bring treats. If it's something you enjoy doing, and have no attached expectations, then good on you for caring about your coworkers! When I leave a rotation, I always bring treats, and I usually keep an eye out for what kind of things have popped up on the floor/in the clinic to help me clue in on what the culture of that group is. I don't do it to out-do my fellow students, or to suck up to my attendings, but more because I want to say I appreciate the nurses and ancillary staff - who are often some of the most helpful people on the rotation.

  25. I bake several times a week (it is part of my "therapy"). I also unload most of it at work (either mine or my husband's) complaints so far,and if they don't want to eat it and it spoils - at least I got the fun of doing the baking and smelling the smells.
    I figure that a pound of butter, some eggs, sugar and flour are cheaper than an hour of therapy and it makes me feel good...and for those who eat it, well - they feel good also!

  26. 1. My boss brings in goodies regularly and it is straight-up awesome. If anybody whines, they have just ID'd themselves to you as someone to avoid, forever. External locus of control, much?

    2. America's Test Kitchen did a thing on why store mix brownies taste better than homemade. It has to do with the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. I don't remember how exactly they fixed the recipe, but it totally brings back the chewy mouthfeel.

  27. apotential: I LOVE homemade brownies. And the only way I can have them is to bake them, eat a couple, and bring the rest to work so my family doesn't eat the whole pan.

    Max: I always brought a homebaked good on the last day of an away rotation.

    POP: We do make healthy stuff too, but that's usually for a snack or meal, so there aren't leftovers to bring to work. It's a catch 22 b/c if it's healthy, I don't feel obligated to have to get it out of my house before eating it all.

    Sarah: I definitely don't push food on anyone. I just drop the food in the nursing station and leave. Actually, sometimes I don't think people even know it's me.

    Christie: I agree. I really enjoy the baking process and eating a cookie straight out of the oven, but I don't want it in my house after that.

    OK, after all this talk, now I have to go buy some brownie mix.....

  28. I'm on weight watchers and I say "Bring em in!" It's nice to feel appreciated. And anyways, if it's not you, it's leftovers from MD conferences or thank yous from appreciative family members.

  29. Definitely A.

    If I'm on a diet, it is my jib to keep myself in line...or maybe just have 1 little brownie, ;)

  30. Keep baking!! I think more people appreciate having SOME food rather than nothing at all, and you can't please everyone...There are days when everyone is so busy they don't have time to grab lunch or snack. One tiny brownie slice doesn't hurt, and only a jerk would eat all of them thinking it could substitute for a lunch.

    If you're REALLY concerned, you could always get those pre-packaged veggie/fruit trays from a supermarket. the ones that come with that ranch dip.

  31. Yum! I wish I worked at your hospital.

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  33. a) definitely! also you may want to try surveymonkey or polldaddy to make surveys. but it seems that it may be better to have people comment with their reasonings behind it!

    @Old MD Girl, even if the student has the same intentions of Fizzy here?

  34. Long time lurker, first time responder. Love your blog.

    A! Nomnomnomnomnom.

    If you don't like having baked goods around after you finished baking, ever thought about a little on the side business?

  35. Bismuth: I know what OMDG is talking about. It's one thing if you're a med student and bring in something on your last day of an away rotation to thank the staff. But bringing in baked goods frequently when there's another med student on the service makes you look like a total suck-up.

  36. @Bismuth -- Yep, pretty much.

    If the other student brought baked goods on the last day and didn't warn me in advance, I'd have been pissed off too because it comes across as one-upsmanship, even if the other student only wants to say thank you. And if you don't mind me saying so, I'd have a really hard time believing that "thank you" was the only motivation.

    And also, I hate baking. If I *had* been told by the other student in advance, I would have felt compelled to make something also. Like, you know, it was part of my job, or else they'd remember the other student more favorably. I would have resented that also. Sorry Fizzy.

  37. OMDG: I only did it twice and both times, I was either the only med student there, or the only one having a last day. It's a slimy move to bring in something and not alert the other med student you're doing so. Even now, I was bringing in a cake (store bought) for nurses week and I told the other attending on my unit I was doing it and asked her if she wanted to go in on it so she wouldn't look bad.

  38. Fizzy -- I'm sure what you did was 100% kosher. It's awesome that you wanted to show appreciation to the staff after a rotation. But yeah, not doing it transparently as a med student = slimy. If you're the only one on the rotation, the worst thing that can happen is that they'll start hoping every med student after you does the same!

  39. LOVE IT. My docs can TOTALLY try to get on my good side with snacks and baked goods. People who get angry about brownies are probably douschebags. Just because someone brings a cookie does not mean that you heave to eat the cookie. Just say "no, thanks" and walk away. Don't ruin it for the rest of us.

  40. One of my juniors brought in home-made biscuits (cranberry & pecan) yesterday and has now gone to the top of my favourite resident list.

    Anyone who brings in home-cooked food is automatically my favourite resident.

  41. @OMDG: I feel like defending my intentions here! I have never done this in a sneaky way, I always told my fellow students and invited them to come over to make them with me, and I never made a big to do or even called attention to my attendings that I brought them in. I just drop them off in the nursing/ancillary staff break room. I am the farthest thing from a gunner that exists in my class. I don't know if the culture of your school is different than mine, but this sort of thing isn't even slightly viewed as one upmanship at mine. We're a low key bunch who are excited to eat home made things - and people often bring things in throughout the rotations (home canned & pickled veggies, fresh chicken eggs, tomatoes, etc - that's the PacNW sort of vibe, though...)

  42. Tess --

    Well, you might as well know that even if nobody says anything to you (I wouldn't have) that some of your co-students probably did resent you. It doesn't matter what your intentions are. And I sincerely doubt my feelings on the subject are because I am some Northeast gunner asshole, as you imply.

    It's very nice for you that you enjoy baking, canning, tending your backyard garden and chicken coop, etc., but *I* didn't have time for those activities during my clerkships. Even if I had the time, I would have preferred spending it on things I actually enjoy without fear that the more domestically inclined female student on the rotation would be preferred because she bribed the staff with baked goods and I didn't.

  43. whoa this is some tricky business! maybe i'll just stick to getting a thank you card and having the other medical student sign it as well.

    but for the record, i'm sure not all med students have intentions other than pure gratitude. that said, could the card in any way be another point for antagonism?

  44. Bismuth -- I was actually thinking about what would be appropriate, since it seems like a gesture of gratitude would be a nice thing to do. A card sounds like a great idea. If you're the only student on a rotation, bake away!

  45. LOVE IT!!!!! I do it all the time, and the only down side is that when I can't bring something they all go to the corner of my desk, stare down and then give me a puppy look...

  46. @OMDG - Well, obviously you took my comment in an offensive way. So I apologize for that, it was not intended to offend. Merely to bring up the point of view of someone who has done this in the past with what I believe are genuinely innocent intentions. Again, sorry if you were offended.

    I do, however, resent the fact that you imply me baking (occasionally) is because I'm not working hard at school. Because that is just simply not true. And for that, I actually am very offended.