Saturday, December 23, 2006

cake du jour - Christmas

I remember the frenzy in the kitchen which surrounded the making of the Christmas cake (and pudding). Huge bowls filled with dark lumpy liquids which were difficult to stir, and not that interesting to secretly taste. After the stirring and baking my Dad would be called upon to ice the cake. This creative process involved quite a lot of swearing, and we would stay away from the kitchen while the difficult birth was under way (any similarity to my own creativity and/or kitchen action will be loudly and ineffectively denied). Afterwards we would gather around to admire the result. There were Christmas ornaments which would sometimes be allowed to sit on the hard icing surface: a bristle Christmas tree and a snowman or two. Their bases always had last year's concrete icing still attached to them. I used to lick them. This stikes me as unsanitary now but it didn't occur at the time; I just wanted a little taste of Christmas.

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas cake, it's too rich and too sweet and comes at the end of a day filled with too much excess. The best thing about it at home was the plates it was served upon: the wedding tea service only allowed out of the cupboard once or twice a year. Pretty, pretty plates that I covet still. I do remember the first time I was served a slice of dry-tasting cheese with some un-iced cake, down the road at my teenaged second home: how it tasted different and somehow better along side the sharp contrast of the cheese. I still feel guilty about the betrayal of liking their cake better, though at 15 I liked anything better if it was out of my own home.

Nowadays the cake comes from Marks and Spencer, we are spared the swearing in the kitchen, and fortunately I am no longer quite so belligerent.

Happy Christmas, and may your new year be filled with much merriment. Or cake. Hell: both.

Labels: , , , , ,