Adventures from the kitchen

So I keep going on about writing – writing, writing, writing – but there is actually another past-time fast taking over. All of my hobbies are time consuming. It isn’t that I enjoy hard work, indeed I am probably one of the laziest people you could ever meet, but I love to see the finished product. So I keep on at the writing and the typesetting, though it bores me sometimes, because I want to see the end result. And I suppose the same is true of this new pursuit of mine.

For the first few years of my marriage I was banned from the kitchen after an unfortunate incident with a cake I had decided to bake for my wife. She had also heard rumours of the birthday cake I had made for my mother as a teenager, which my sister had kindly named the Stumer Cake. My reputation went before me it seemed. I was never satisfied with the exclusions of the no-fry zone under this regime, so one day I decided I would secretly flout the injunction. There was a celebration for two colleagues at my last place of work, so I decided it would be nice if I took with me a cake. And so my little adventure began, the result of which was a marble sponge, half ginger, half cocoa. The next day at work it all went rather splendidly – it literally went down very well indeed. Interestingly, one of my colleagues sneaked a piece to my wife for we used to work in the same office – and my destiny was changed forever.

I don’t know how many times my wife has asked me to bake a cake now. There was the one she requested when her friends were coming around, one for a visit by my siblings, one for my father and one more for my parents on our recent visit up north. I am now the official baker of Chateau Bowes. But cakes are not all I do. I’m onto pies now. Cheese and onion quiche. Apple, sultana and cinnamon pie. We took an apple pie to my grandmother. And the tour-de-force: lemon meringue pie.

Although there is a rather unfortunate tale accompanying the last.

We have at work a certain member of staff who is always on hand to help absolutely everyone out. She is underpaid and overworked. I can only say she is not of my generation – it is all I dare to say. Everyday I ask her how she is when I go to change the back-up tapes on the server. There was a week when she kept saying, “I’m fine, but I’d be much better if someone brought be a chocolate cake or a lemon meringue pie.” So I went home that weekend thinking that I would bake her pie. If anyone deserved a pie it was her, and so on Sunday evening I set about the task. It took me hours – the pastry base, then the fresh lemon filling and finally the meringue – but I enjoyed it all the same. Monday morning I delivered the pie. Well, who would have known it? I was certainly the flavour of the month. The whole of the executive team were busy tucking in.

Unfortunately word got out. My wife has a friend who works in my organisation and she had stories to report. Suffice to say, another embargo has been put into force. I am prohibited to take any more baking with me to the office. So a day or two later, there I was eating a slice of my homemade apple pie at my desk in the office when in walked our friend from the front desk. She asked where her piece was. I had to explain. “But didn’t you explain that we’re all happily married ladies?” she asked.

“Don’t worry,” I replied, saying the first thing that came to my mind, “I told her you were all golden oldies.”

I am sorry to report that I was no longer the flavour of the month. In under twenty-four hours my personal rating had shot through the roof and then back down through the floor. Oh, for my culinary adventures!

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