Monday, 3 October 2011

I bet Michelle Obama has got a hand whisk

The disastrous baking episodes are still alluding me at the moment, and I made Rosie a more than passable birthday cake this year. It's starting to anger me slightly now.

Go from this..
When I say passable, I mean not disgusting, I'm under no illusion that I'm suddenly going to be crowned Queen Baker at the W.I, but I realise I must try harder these days to create disasters so will be attempting something meringuey this week. If that doesn't work it's all over. this...

If you've ever tried to whip cream using just a hand whisk you will appreciate that it takes a REALLY long time. Every time I' ve ever done it, I've nearly given up after about 10 minutes, but suddenly something miraculous happens and the previously runny liquid turns as if by magic into the holy grail that is described as "soft peaks". The other day, I was whisking the cream that was going to sandwich together the chocolate birthday cake and truly nearly lost the will to live.. After 8 minutes I had sweat starting to melt my upper lip and it still looked the same as it had when I opened the pot. It hurt. 9 minutes in, I was calling both the cream and the whisk very rude names.

Then I caught sight of my right arm, which, muscles flexed, looked really quite impressive. I liked it. Suddenly the pain became good pain, and as the soft peaks spectacularly and magestically appeared I wanted to start all over again- this time with my left arm. Soon discovered that, not being ambidextrous, the left arm would need a bit more practice as there was cream everywhere except in the bowl.

Later, I was left with not only a not disgusting cake but a pleasant, self satisfied "exercise ache" in my arms- the kind of ache that can make you feel quite smug, and allow you to convince yourself you're allowed a bar of chocolate because you went through the pain barrier earlier that day.

..with one of these
It made me realise that proper baking is probably really good exercise. All that wisking, kneading, stirring and folding is a real work out on the arms, and when you add the heat of a kitchen on a summery day I'm sure it's on a level with a zumba class for cardivascular exercise. My nan did lots of baking, and maintained a good pair of bingo-wing free arms well into her 70's- and when you think of round, flour faced grannies in aprons they're nearly always solid looking- huge, yes, but flabby? Not usually. So it got me thinking- who needs to spend money on expensive gym memberships when you could probably do just as well making a couple of cakes every day (as long as you get someone else to eat them). I think I might just set up my own little "gym" in my kitchen, and charge people £30 a month to join in. Even if the majority of my client's bodies may remain rotund, they'll end up rivalling Mrs O on the arm front.

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