23 July 2009

Cooking and caking and writing and making

The other night a friend, N, and I were talking about cooking. Her theory is that the kitchen used to be one of the few places that women, traditionally, could be creative, and so when we're stuck in our writing or painting or etc, we turn to this sort of primordial place in refuge. I said I felt it had to do with immediate satisfaction; you bake a cake or roast some meat and there, within hours it's done, and your audience eats it up and everyone is happy. (Or, hopefully happy.) We agreed that we needed or wanted the "making" part more than we did the eating.... And that when we're "off" our art we're also off cooking, and baking, and tasting....

This week I've had precious little time for writing, but I've baking up a storm. I made this pie which is so damn good that I made it again because I took the first one to a party. Then I made an adaptation of Nigella's buttermilk birthday cake from How to Be a Domestic Goddess (Mumsnet has the recipe if you're interested), with a chocolate frosting of my own creation because the recipe I had scrawled on a scrap of paper from c. 1980 didn't seem right. However the Birthday Girl tasted it and it got the nod of approval.

I should certainly hope so, I told her, I was up until midnight making it.

image credit: Young woman standing in a kitchen cooking food, 1942, © Underwood Photo Archives / SuperStock

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