I am no cook. No aspiring Masterchef contestant. Although the cooking programmes have inspired me on the odd occasion to fling my caution to the winds and add more than a pinch of this and that to a variety of dishes; sometimes with success, sometimes with a promise to those who share in my culinary experiments never to repeat that combination of flavours again.
So it was with interest that I was party to a baking morning recently.
The five kilogram bag of flour on the kitchen counter (five kilograms?) suggested it was going to be a marathon event. And it was! Butter, flour, sugar, all tipped with meticulous care into bowls lined up in a row. Cherries, green and red, diced to perfection were added to one bowl. We agreed they looked festive.
Oh yum, chocolate chips (my personal favourite) were poured into another bowl. Well, there may have been one or two fewer in the mixture than had poured out of the packet by the time they reached the oven but who was counting? I can assure you though they disappeared before they were added to the mixture and not dug out of the dough!
Finally, cinnamon was added to the third bowl. The Chief Chef, calm and in control of the whole exercise, could find no ginger in the bounteous store cupboard, so cinnamon was substituted. With its enticing fragrance wafting through the house as it baked, we agreed it was a pretty inspired idea to use it.
And there they were. Rows and rows of pretty biscuits, cooling on racks, ready to pack on paper plates as impromptu Christmas gifts.
We wondered how we could we make them more festive as we gazed at the tempting fare. Red and green – definitely Christmas – chocolate – ooh, chocolate – no, don’t be tempted to eat them now, we’ll have to start again! And the enticing aroma of cinnamon.
Then I remembered. I left the admiring crowd and went to dig in my cupboard where a multitude of secret packages had been pushed to the back. Yes! There they were! 1500 Christmas stickers! I could spare a hundred or so for the biscuits.
And so they were wrapped and adorned and stood in rows, awaiting their recipients. Although I had only watched (and swept the floor after one especially enjoyable session with clouds of flour) there was a sense of achievement as we gazed at the finished results.
And a sense of family – for, after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?