Tag Archives: baking

Timing

2 Nov

Oh, hello, November.

How the hell did that happen? The year is nearly over, which of course means my brain starts doing gymnastics – going back over 2014. And it all comes down to this: I thought I’d feel better by now.

Last year I went on holiday in November. It had been a bit of a focus to just keep going, just keep breathing, just keeping working, just keep above water, for three months after the Pizza of Doom, safe in the knowledge that I could collapse on a beach for two weeks. And I was shocked to find myself on that beautiful beach, tears streaming, feeling totally depressed and still hurting like f*** over the man who broke my heart.

A year on, I’m about to go on holiday again, and – again – I’m shocked that I still feel heartbroken. Of course, I’m a lot better than I was last year. And, honestly, looking back over my year it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve achieved quite a lot. I’ve changed. I’ve refocused. But it still hurts. A lot.

It’s been fifteen months since that fateful evening when the man I thought I was going to marry ate half a pizza and then told me he’d never been in love with me. Why don’t I feel better?

I think a lot of it stems from the fact I haven’t met anyone else. At this stage, I figure the chances of me meeting someone and having kids are slim, very slim. That’s a tough pill to swallow on its own. But, then, if I’d met someone before now, I don’t think I would have been ready. I’m a very different person now.

It’s like this. Imagine you’ve made a cake. A beautiful cake. Delicious sponge. Sweet, swirly icing. It looks stunning. And then the man you think you’re going to marry comes along and smashes the cake up. There’s crumbs everywhere. It’s a sugar massacre.

And you still want cake.

So do you mash something together from what’s left? Or do you take some time to throw away the remains, wipe down all your worksurfaces, go and buy new ingredients, and start from scratch?

I want to start from scratch.

Maybe that takes 15 months, or more.

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Baking

25 Oct

Cat-Baking

I’m great at baking. I’m great at cooking too. Another two reasons I am astounded to not be married, and to not even have a boyfriend.

The thing is, after the Pizza of Doom, I kind of gave up on both. I used to bake for my ex a lot. He always referred to the time I first made him red velvet cupcakes as “a significant moment in our relationship”. It was. It was the night we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. After he asked me. After only four dates. Still bitter? Who me? Anyway, I’m sure there is some deep-rooted psychological reason, but ever since the break up I cannot get red velvet cake to come out the right colour. So I gave up. I have nobody to bake for. There was no pleasure to be had in creating beautiful things in my kitchen. I just stopped doing it. And on the cooking front, well, is there anything sadder than some 32-year-old spinster cooking for herself?

I actually did start cooking again after last winter saw me chalk up around 57 colds and viruses. It was time to reintroduce vegetables. I still eat toast most nights. Or kids’ ready meals. But, sure, I’ll make meals and freeze them in pathetic little single portions for when I get in from work at night.

Baking, though, remained untouched. Somehow it’s a much more emotional thing. It’s a “nice to have” a “nice to do”. It’s love, presented in sugar, eggs and flour. And I’ve been losing weight, so the last thing I need is a batch of brownies and nobody to share them with.

Very recently I began baking again. I made a gingerbread brownie thing for a friend, and then took the remains into work for my colleagues. I gave some to Irish Two. Everyone loved them. And I really enjoyed baking them.

I find Saturdays tough at the moment. I invariably end up in tears at some point. And that pain, that deep deep pain, hits me in the chest towards the end of the day. Yet Saturdays are also my favourite days, because I go swimming and take my favourite yoga class. Today I got a mani pedi and chose bright orange polish that reminds me it’s autumn.

And then I came home and baked. Just for me. To make my flat warm, and let my living room well up with the smell of spices and sweetness, and to have something delicious to eat after my homemade autumn stew.

What’s my point? I’m wondering the same thing as I type this.

I guess it’s that, when life isn’t how you want it to be it’s all to easy to deny yourself niceness. It’s all to easy to ask, “Why bother?”. Why bother dressing up when you have nobody to dress up for? Why bother cooking when it’s just you? Why bother going for a pedicure when only the yoga people at yoga class see your toes? Why bother caring?

Well, buddies, you should bother, for this simple reason: a little bit of sweetness can change any situation. Not a lot. Just a pinch.

A red velvet caketastrophe

24 Aug

My ex loved my red velvet cupcakes. He used to say that the first time I baked them for him was a “significant moment in our relationship”. Who could blame him? I’m a damn fine baker.

But since the break up I am incapable of making red velvet cake. I tried last weekend for my friend’s hen party (which I ended up leaving after 24 hours because I couldn’t stop crying). They came out of the oven a murky brown.

Tonight I gave it another go, trying to make a large red velvet cake to take to a friend’s house tomorrow. It’s eggplant-coloured.

I guess I’ll know I’m finally on the mend when I get that springy, yummy, scarlet sponge right again. Or maybe I need to find a new recipe. One that doesn’t remind me of him.