So the Great British Bake Off is back, a reliable indicator that autumn is well and truly here and seemingly more popular than ever. 11 million people tuned into last year’s final, every workplace seems to run a Bake Off sweepstake and Twitter explodes whenever Paul Hollywood grants a handshake for a particularly accomplished bake. So what is the appeal, apart from the smutty innuendo and soggy bottoms?
I have a long-standing relationship with baking and often ponder the meaning of cake. When I was a kid, Saturday was baking day and our mother would spend hours making biscuits and butterfly cakes and a chocolate confection she called ‘Doodlebugs’. We kids were allowed to lick bowls and spoons, but never eat any of the finished goodies until late afternoon. Then, just before Doctor Who came on the telly, she would spread out a tablecloth on the living room floor, set a place for each of us and lay out a picnic of the things she’d made earlier all carefully wrapped in paper packages for us to open.
They were the most magical meals of our childhoods and afternoon tea has been my favourite meal ever since; baking my favourite kitchen activity. After all, it’s always a treat – no-one can justify cake in human survival terms – it’s something we consume purely for pleasure and something we make to show others we care. Baking also be something we do for ourselves. For me it’s a stress-buster – my family always know when I’m a bit stressed because there will be lots of cakes and biscuits to eat.
A lot of what we do in the kitchen is rooted in our childhoods, either to recreate and pass on the nurturing we felt in our early years or a way of creating a caring environment that we didn’t have as a child. Nurturing is something that’s always on the menu at the Flavour and Haver Cook school, both in the food preparation and budgeting skills classes run by Viki and the social enterprise masterclasses led by Sue.
We’ve got lots of great baking classes coming up this autumn. Whether you want to try something new or expand your baking repertoire; a seasoned baker or a complete beginner, there’s something for everyone. The classes are relaxed and sociable, you’ll pick up lots of tips from experienced bakers and there’s always plenty of time to chat, make new friends, and eat cake!
There are still places left in our autumn baking class on Saturday 15th September when chef Sue O’Neill Berest will be showing participants how to make Blackberry and Apple Streusel Muffins, a showstopping Spiced Pumpkin Latte Layer Cake and the traditional Aberdonian pastries called Rowies (aka Butteries). It’ll be a lovely relaxed day with lots of bakes to take home and share with friends and family. Tickets available on Eventbrite here.
Save the date: October baking class will be a Halloween special on 20th. The Eventbrite event will be up soon!
Pamela Timms, 10th September 2018.