I love cooking.
Following a recipe and producing something resembling food helps my creative side. I get great ideas for characters and plots whilst cooking. I think it is something to do with sharp knives.
A recent exercise on the Creative Writing course asked to write notes whilst preparing a meal or baking. The aim was to produce a character and prose to include the five senses and emotions evoked during the process.
This is the most recent draft of the piece.
Cooking created a quandary for Dave. He enjoyed the process of collecting ingredients and following a recipe but the bouts of disorganisation and collective clutter, as the recipe came together, disturbed him.
Selecting a recipe raised Dave’s mood and he felt a tingle of excitement as he went through the cupboards getting together the ingredients. Butter, flour, cinnamon and honey looked ordered in their factory packaging sat next to the bananas, sultanas and eggs. The smell of sultanas provided particular appeal.
The start of the recipe involved mashing bananas. Dave wanted to get his hands into the bananas, in the mixing bowl, but his aversion to mess prevented this and he opted for a fork.
The Happy Monday’s, Hallelujah, played on the radio and soon he was mashing in time to the music.
Mixing the butter and sugar provided a short physical workout. He whisked the mixture until it became a soft cream and his hand ached. The white flour sifting through his hands and fingers, into the mix, provided some pleasure as nothing stuck to him. He battled to keep the egg shell out of bowl as he cracked the eggs, and after more whisking something resembling wet concrete sat in the bottom of the bowl.
The bananas were added and, after a final whisk, the mix was poured into the baking tin. The smell of the bananas, sultanas and honey made Dave’s mouth water.
A blast of heat hit his face as he opened the oven door and placed the cake tin on the shelf. He felt satisfied as the oven light illuminated the efforts of the last half hour.
Satisfaction was quickly replaced by mild terror. Dave turned and saw the chaos now sat on top of the kitchen surfaces. Mounds of flour scattered over dirty bowls. Forks and spoons covered in butter. Remnants of loaf mix dribbled from the worktops down the kitchen cupboards. Pieces of egg shell were scattered over the kitchen floor.
Despite the horror, clearing up was his favourite part of cooking; turning chaos back into order. He embraced the hot soapy water on his hands as piece by piece the cutlery and baking utensils were returned to their original state.
Order restored, he commenced the 5 minute checks of the oven ensuring everything was on track.
An hour passed and the buzz of the oven timer ended his torment.
Dave placed the Banana Loaf on the cooling rack and was relieved to see it looked exactly like the picture in the recipe book. He cut a small piece. The taste proved the stress and trauma of the last hour were worth it.
He dived into the fridge to get the block of cheddar cheese.