Because we’re a combination of middle class and pretentious, in our house there is no last minute rush to Poundland to buy food for our visitors at Halloween, we bake it. This comes as a welcomed decision amongst most of our trick or treaters cue ‘Cake is my bae!’- said a child dressed as Nicki Minaj that breached the age restrictions of the word ‘bae’ (you have to be at least 14 to use it surely?) but not so much for others, quote:
Me: Do you want a cake?
Which was ungrateful but honest as the cakes were pretty rank (I’m ashamed to say my cupcake game has majorly deteriorated since last Christmas *sings Wham*) but while I was making them I realised that baking itself comes with many challenges that those, how should I describe myself, that haven’t properly evolved in the kitchen department, regularly struggle with in recipeworld. And as I’m losing my making-dinner-for-my-parents virginity tonight, I thought I would expose all my culinary issues so that they can’t blame me when I probably give them salmonella. Or E. coli. If you can even catch E. coli.
For example, setting the oven seems like a straightforward process: you find the recipe you want to follow, read the number at the top of the page and twizzle the oven’s knob (I heard that giggle missy) until you get to the temperature you want. Even the cast of the Compare the Meerkat adverts would find it simplessss. But I do not. There are just so many factors you have to weigh up like DOES MY OVEN HAVE A BLADY FAN because right now I am definitely NOT A FAN OF IT- this is usually followed by me hitting it with a wooden spoon until it answers my prayers. Because if it does have a fan I need to reduce the temperature by 20°C or maybe I don’t…maybe Rachel Khoo has already accommodated for my swanky oven- how will I know if she has? Maybe she uses a fan oven or maybe these are the temperatures for gas or actually it’s more likely that I’m looking at the page numbers.
Now forget horoscope pages and all those How To Stop Your Wife Leaving You For A Younger More Fashionable Italian Man guides that line the Waterstones self-help section because nothing says more about your personality than the way you crack eggs. When you see someone cracking an egg they are not only expressing their hatred for the vegan community, but letting you see into their soul and it’s up to you to deduct from that what you will. Let’s look at the one handed crackers (which sounds like a novelty Christmas band) the types of people that are so big on multitasking that they crack their eggs and reach into the pull-out larder to grab the arachis oil at the same time. You can tell just by the sickening stench of their matching underwear set that these people have their lives put together and belong on a different planet to people like me- let’s call us the explosive crackers- because, well, unless you’re on the egg shell diet I’d steer clear of asking me to crack your eggs.
You can tell by the way I tuck my jeans into my bedsocks that I’m really into fashion, which comes in handy when you’re trying to work the mixer, because trust me, there is nothing you can make without the mixer deciding it would be better if you were wearing it. It’s as if it’s personally punishing me for being lazy. I’m sorry mixer that’s-supposed-to-look-like-a-KitchenAid-but-definitely-isn’t-a-KitchenAid your job is to save my arms from spending 11 minutes whipping cream, please do so without covering me in cream spittle.
I’m pretty sure after you’ve sent your brand new cookbook to the publishers some grumpy bum at the back of the office who’s wife’s just left him (probably for a younger, more fashionable Italian) decides that the recipes just aren’t exciting enough without replacing half the ingredients for pomegranate vinegar and light brown muscavado sugar. He is the reason everything I make fails as I swiftly Google substitutes for all of the ingredients I can’t pronounce. One day I will be the woman that has a whole cupboard designated to wheat flour, but until then I refuse to believe that it’ll really make a difference if the butter’s not unsalted.
Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, nothing, nothing, is more stressful than the part at the end of your bake where you have to gram it. And don’t even try and tell me I don’t have to upload a photo to Instagram because trust me, if I’ve just spent 4 hours in the kitchen trying to make custard from scratch, I am going to showcase my cakes if it’s the last thing I do. But how do I choose which cakes look best for the photo without making the others feel like they’re being picked last for teams in PE? Which filter best captures the fact they’re flavoured with both raspberries and caramel? How can I make them look gluten free? The questions are endless and I haven’t even started on the hashtags.
So Teamales, the put together bunch that you are, have you ever had any kitchen disasters or would you all make the perfect 1950s housewife? I think it’s clear that, when it comes to cooking, I’d rather be eating it.