Friday, 19 November 2010

Bake Sale Shame

Today is Children in Need day here in the UK and across the country people are working hard to raise as much money as possible to help improve the lives of children across the UK.


My son’s school is marking the occasion with a bake sale and he excitedly rushed home from school earlier this week with the request that I make a banana loaf for him to take in.  Not unreasonable you might think.  But you would be wrong…….because I am a woman who can make a challenge out of the simplest request.


For example, despite having been given three clear days notice to bake something, I still managed to get to last night with only the most basic ingredients in the house!


After a shockingly stressful day at work and the need to do some serious catching up at home, I found myself in the kitchen, with my laptop on the kitchen table while I was splitting my time between making the cake and doing my work.


The lack of concentration meant that the flour went in with the sugar and butter without being sieved, and I had to spoon it all back out.  I then spilt a large quantity of flour onto the floor.  The cake mixture went into the oven but the recipe didn’t specify a temperature (internet recipe – rookie error!) and so I guessed 180 degrees and kept my fingers crossed.


50 minutes later a very well cooked/lightly burnt banana loaf emerged from the oven and after leaving it for ten minutes to cool, I tipped it out onto the cooling rack.  Oh dear.  My “loaf” looked more like a slice of bread.  It hadn’t risen enough.


My son looked disconcerted but tried to remain positive – “not everyone can cook cakes mum but you’re ace at other stuff” – and I sulked off to carry on with my work whilst cooking the dinner, making the lunches for today and being a general all round super-woman (in my opinion anyway!).


The relief at cooking the “Banana Flat Bread” - as I had re-christened it - was overwhelming and I allowed myself a little pride at my achievement, as I bagged it and labelled it ready to take to school this morning.


Fast forward to 8am today, standing outside the school. 


“Mum.  Where’s the banana loaf?”


The answer to this question dear reader is that the loaf was (as I am sure you have already guessed) still sat in the kitchen, in it’s little labelled baggie, waiting for me to remember to bring it to school – which of course, I hadn’t!


Having managed to miss his Harvest Festival performance because I got the day wrong only a few short weeks ago, I am on what can best be described as thin ice with my son at the moment.  My work/life balance seems to have tilted out of his favour and this little screw up has made things worse.


Profuse apologies and a half-hearted goodbye hug from him later, I walked to my car feeling like the worst mother on earth……until I saw the children coming towards me, clutching their baked goods with enormous pride.


Now I just feel plain relief.  My Banana Flat-Bread would never have sold!  It was nowhere near the standard or excellence that the other mothers had managed to produce. 


My culinary ineptitude can remain my own little secret for another year – until the next bake sale.  And then I think I’ll buy something from the supermarket and pass it off as my own!  Oh, and try to remember to bring it to school with me too!

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