Peeping into an oven to be met with the vision of an ugly and flopped cake is like suddenly coming face to face with the futility and wretchedness of, well, everything. You see, for the existentially-sensitive, time spent in the production of an ugly cake raises questions best left unasked. Once you consider: “What was the point of all that baking” your are just one fateful leap of the imagination away from the devastation of wondering: “What’s the point of anything?”
So there they are: some, lets be honest, very pretty biscuits. I made the little dears and I think that they are quite charming. As pretty as they are, however, there is an undertone to the delight and pride I experience when I gaze upon their floral loveliness- an undertone of despair. Pretty Biscuits and despair- now that makes for an interesting tea party. Make your choice- “one lump or two”- and let me explain:
It has all come to this. I have devoted my early adulthood to the onerous study of analytical philosophy, an academic discipline in which you are concerned with all kinds of meaty matters. So meaty are these matters that my extensive personal notes from this time could serve as poignant and absurd works of art. They consist primarily in “spider-diagrams” with phrases like “the nature of ulitimtate reality”, “the existence of God”, “what sort of person should I be” and “the value of scientific inquiry” at their centre. From these centres loop neat little arrows to other equally heady terms scattered about the page and usually the arrows point ultimately to sweet, but all telling, little question marks.
“The meaning of life, considered on a A4 page in blue ball-point pen.”
Year and upon year of this “mental gymnasitics” has left me, at 32, with what I like to call “a very fine brain”. It behaves well (at least most of the time), calculating, comprehending and analysing with ease and willingness- a real trouper of a brain. The kind of brain that is inclined to think of biscuits of the kind pictured above to be far too silly for human consumption.
And now I’m 32 , with a very fine brain, and making very pretty biscuits. Not only do I make pretty biscuits but I have too. Its what I need after years and years of neat little blue pall-point question marks. There is nothing, I find, quite like delightful things, to give, at least briefly, a touch of certainty to the day. Eugh, here is a disgustingly twee metaphor to really drive the point home: “delight is the tippex to my blue ball-point question marks”. What a marvelous abuse of English.
Now, pretty is not the only source of delight nor is it everyone’s favourite. I have always been a little more partial to that kind of delight that can make you cry: that delight that comes from mountains, art, the understanding of a scientific theory or even the delight that comes from a perfectly baked loaf of bread- delight steeped in significance. But pretty is about all I can muster right now, its far less risky than these other varieties. I could probably also manage a fair amount of pomp, but with the Royal Wedding, Diamond Jubliee and the Olympic opening ceremony well behind us now that this source of delight is sadly few and far between. Pretty it must be and pretty it is- and pretty does the trick.
So why despair: I despair that I bake very pretty biscuits. What would Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard or David Attenborough think of me and my silly little biscuits? And despair that I must bake very Pretty Biscuits in order to override the more constant and pervasive forms of despair that is the natural consequence of a person being brave enough to get out of bed in the morning.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do intend to do something important (my very fine brain and natural pride will not allow me to devote myself to pretty entirely) and I am trying my darndest to convince those most discerning of creatures that we call “potential employers” to help me do that.
But until someone dignifies me in this way I will be mucking about my kitchen delighting and despairing (along I’m assuming with everyone else) and slowly but surely getting just a little bit plump.
The last thing the world needs is another baking blog. Oh, how important I think I am. It is even less likely that the world needs a baking blog for those whom tend towards nihilism. But well, the last thing that those whom tend toward nihilism concern themselves with is with what the world needs.