As a proud father, I’m seeing life through Daphne’s eyes. Not only do I learn what it must be like living in our rather dull home. With me and Pete, two rather conventional and homely gays in their early 30’s. But I also reflect on my own life. My own dreams. When I have a little white puppy sat to my side, as tiny as anything in the world could be, you think about big things. How big can things be?
I think some times I have dreamt so big to make what seems small and mundane feel a bit less mundane. Mundane as the world seemed to go around but my scenery never changed. The television showed the world changed for some, that some people travel a road from half empty to full, from a world of obligation and work to a world of passion and fulfilment. But I know that Cheryl Baker and co were wrong, The Camera Does Lie. The world where people are happily ever after, that is often a falsehood. Editing, False positives, promises of glamour, pandering to the ego. The finite moment. Winner, gift, well done, superstar, world is your oyster, won’t you be a big success, meet Bill and Susannah on the BBC Breakfast couch tomorrow, it feels and looks like a world with infinite possibility. But I’m minded to remember what comes next. “Log on to apply for the next series of…..” The win is great but the conveyor belt starts all over again.
What am I talking about? Don’t really know. I think I got a bit irrationally sad when I read a blog post today. It was a far more successful blogger than I. Someone who is on recommended blog lists. People follow on Facebook or something. Loads of followers on blogger, lots of comments per blog post. I haven’t had a comment in months. But I read it. It was generic, it was just as ego centric as mine, but it was mainly stolen. I have stopped reposting recipes online. I started but thought better of it. Firstly it’s copyright theft. Secondly it’s not intelligent. Is popularity worth it if it’s based on borrowed work? I’d argue not.
Can I tell you a secret? If I try to make recipes up, I tend to always miss something. My palate is common. I have no 6th sense for a taste sensation. But I can follow recipes. But that is not a testament to my culinary skills, which are good as I’m well practiced. It’s a testament to the original author. Whose words are well chosen, method well rehearsed and ability unquestionable. I have a great time going through my collection of cookbooks. Stopping in Chez Nigella, catching up with Ina, spending time with the grossly underrated Annie Bell. I love touring Asian cuisine with Anjum, or Mexico with Thomasina. Or sometimes I get my iPad, and check in with Mary-Anne or Joy. These are my joys. Please explain to me what kind of person I would be if I rewrote their recipes and denied you the pleasure of finding this for yourself.
If I were to say to you “OMG girlfriend you must try Nigella’s meatloaf recipe here it is” I would do you the following disservice.
Even If I told you it was from the book Nigella Kitchen that wouldn’t be enough. Even if I were to tell you why I love the book and to buy it as its on offer at W H Smith, it wouldn’t be enough. For the pleasure with the literary art is in discovery. The font, the texture, the photography. The introduction, the inspiration, the structure. The sheer volume of recipes included. Why choose the meatloaf? I like it, buy you may prefer tarragon
Chicken, or grasshopper pie. Discovery and choice are two of the simplest yet most important pleasures mankind has. I’d be a fool, neigh a selfish fool to deny you these.
So here comes my truth.
I may never bake for a living. Id love to. But I’m not a professional. And perhaps being elbow deep in flour would lead me to lose something I take solace in. Why turn a hobby you love into a job if it will lead to hour of toil and stress balancing the books? Plus I fear that little bakeries that have flooded the market may fold like airless
Meringues soon enough. Especially if the trends, recipes and invention are simply borrowed like the content of hundreds of online blogs. Seriously? Modern blogging is just a million and one ways with salted caramel it appears.
I am writing this as a message to me as well as the world. It’s ok to be average. It’s ok not to be an overnight sensation. You may never be the king of brownies.
I may never be a male Ina Garten with added Dudley accent. I may never fulfil my hours of daydreaming. I may just be a family of three in Sheffield. Baking with Daphne at my feet with my own publishing deal online and Pete watching telly at my side. But you know what? These books will always balance! No one can take my deal away. And my West Highland Terrier audience will always live my work!
And as my parting gift here are some Recent shots of Daphne!
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