The key difference between baking and normal cooking is the indirect application of heat. This allows for food to be cooked gradually from the outside in, usually leaving a hard, protective casing as in the case of a bread loaf. It's a fair assumption that baking began with bread, and bread began with gruel. Primitive man learned that grain when heated in water would release its starch and so thicken a soup into a more nourishing gruel. This gruel when left in the baking heat of the sun would turn into what must have been a very terrible bread, but that bread was still leaps beyond any other food preserving technology. A revolution was born, one that has carried humans from nomadic tribes to city-states to high-rise offices. There was another revolution, born on that same primeval day on running in parallel ever since, that has been just as influential. For there is an alternative to letting gruel dry in the sun. It can also be stored in liquid form, mainly in tree trunks for this predates pottery, and when one does that a curious thing happens. It ferments. And so at the same time humanity made its first terrible bread it also made its first terrible beer, and while mind altering substances such as mushrooms were surely already known to man now, for the first time, here was one that could be made at will and in quantity. Beer and bread, the two great stories of mankind. Apollonian and Dionysian, the dueling currents of culture and counter culture.
Which brings us to the other definition of bake and today's most visible battleground of the ancient feud between those who wish for the freedom to stretch the possibilities of the mind to its limit (or, as is often tragically the case, past the limit) and those who seek to protect the citizenry from the dangers inherent in too much freedom. This, at least, is the honorable front of that war, small though it is. Most of the fighting is done on the dishonorable front, between those who profit of the misery of others through imprisoning them either physically or chemically. It must be said that there is such a thing as too much freedom. How accessible do we, as a society, want our opioids to be? Or our guns for that matter? Surely some limits are necessary. Some lines must be drawn. But, as anyone familiar with the incarceration rates knows, in this country, on this particular battle, we are far from that line. Laws that make criminals of our greatest contributors, from Paul Erdos and Carl Sagan to John Lennon and Bob Dylan, do not serve society. Those laws become themselves the enemy of society. Christopher Hitchens once said that totalitarianism, that ultimate antithesis to the healthy society, has as its essential principle the making of laws that cannot be obeyed. In a healthy society, as we should have learned from the 21st Amendment, everybody's crime is nobodies crime.