Philosophical question of the Day: What is baking?

The recent conversation going on in the Carrot pieces post has lead me to a question. Picture in your mind’s eye the following scenario:

I am at a grocery store, where I pick up a roll of Pillsbury Ready to Bake Shape Cookies. I take them home, cut them into slices, place those slices onto cookie sheets and then place them in an appropriately heated oven for the recommended amount of time.

Question: Am I still baking? Or am I doing something else?

I ask this question because there is marked difference in activity between what I mentioned above versus what William Leaman, operator of Bakery Nouveau( located here in West Seattle) does for a living.

If one does assume that using Ready to Bake cookies constitutes “not baking”, then what threshold of activity must take place before it can be called “baking”?

I’ll place my own answer in the comments thread later in the day.

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