It’s that time of year again when we all decide what we’re going to eat less of (chocolate, crisps, cookies… hey, I’m on the diet bandwagon with you and am practically drooling as I type). However, being the optimist that I am, I’ve decided to ditch the January blues and desperate sugar cravings and focus on the positive – foods that I can eat, will eat, and want to eat more of in 2013. These foods are all healthy, nutritious and when prepared properly, delicious, so I’m just as excited about them as I would be about a new new cake recipe.
Okay, I’m lying, but help a brother out and pretend to get excited with me.
I’m just going to put it out there: I LOVE Christmas. I’m the sort of girl who will put on a Christmas album in early November and spend six weeks organising my gift wrapping strategy. I love wearing ugly Christmas jumpers, I love sending out cards and I love putting up the tree (yes, even untangling the hopelessly knotted ball of fairy lights). And of course, I love the food.
However, a strange sense of foreboding comes over me when I think about giving food as a gift. Maybe I overthink it, maybe I’m too obsessive, but there’s definitely something nerve racking about handing over something that you’ve created and hoping that the recipient thinks that it’s as delicious as you do. There are no guarantees – you can’t blame the shop for their poor ingredient choices, or the manufacturer for the bland and boring packaging.
My mother is many wonderful things, but a cook is not one of them. I don’t have fond memories of us licking cake bowls and cutting out cookies in a warm, homey kitchen. In fact, as a notoriously fussy child, I was fed mostly on anything-on-toast and whatever could be thrown in the oven, as the chances of me eating it quietly and not throwing a room shattering tantrum were inversely proportional to the amount of carbs I was served (let’s be honest, not much has changed on this count).
My passion for food arrived when I started having to feed myself, not as the result of any kind of family legacy, and although I’ve had great fun figuring it out for myself, it would have been handy to have the basics in the bag! Here are 5 things I wish my mother had taught me before I jumped on the baking bandwagon.