I am good at baking but never do it, because I am also good at eating too much of it. However I decided to ask for this lovely cake stand for Christmas and bake really special cakes, but only on really special occasions - birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas - occasions where they will be shared. So I can have the pleasure of making them, but won't get fat on them! Simple. And if I am only making them occasionally I can afford to use the very best ingredients.
Of course with the new insight that it's actually simpler to just do it 'by the book' I have bought exactly the ingredients in the recipe. I have always thought it easier to say 'Oh, salted butter won't make any difference' when the recipe says unsalted, or 'granulated sugar will do' when it says castor sugar. Of course it does 'do'. It is perfectly possible that this is how some new recipes are invented. But I wonder where this attitude of compromise and make do comes from.
Often it was a matter of money - cheaper ingredients were affordable. Convenience? Out at work, studying and with two children at home I couldn't take time off to go to town searching for the 'right' cake tin. Laziness? Sometimes. Inventiveness? I'd like to think so, but suspect an element of not playing by the rules, someone else's rules, or of inverted snobbery - 'What difference can it really make to use wild mushrooms instead of regular ones?'
But my point is that just reading the recipe, going and getting the right ingredients and equipment and doing what I am told is actually stress free and simple. No nagging voice in my head, thinking up arguments and justifications! Just do it. Keep it simple sweetheart....