Sunday, 13 October 2013

Food for thought

Yesterday was grey. One of those days when it never seems to get properly light. Come to that, today has not been a great deal better. Anyway, back to yesterday: the smaller two grandchildren came for the day. Their mother was having her hair done. Quite why that should take all day is another matter altogether which will not be investigated at the moment. 

Among other things, we baked. Apple pie – because I had bought baking apples at the market the other day – and sponge cake. Baking is quite a good activity on a dull day and we certainly weren’t getting out to the park to play football. 

 I was wondering why it is that whenever they want to raise money for some charitable cause such as Macmillan Cancer Support people are encouraged to organise a cake sale. My daughter does it at least once a year at her school and they make quite a lot of money. And yet it seems strange that in order to raise money for something health related you should bake cakes and encourage people to eat more than they need. 

 Maybe it’s part of a national obsession with baking. It used to be just cooking in general but now it seems to have moved on to baking, and baking cakes in particular, with competitive TV programmes like the National Bake Off. Now, I like to cook and I like to bake. I happily peruse cookery books and collect recipes from the weekend newspaper supplements but I can’t say I have ever really enjoyed watching other people do it. Sometimes it seems as though, like knitting, it’s just been rediscovered and lots of people want to show off their new-found skills. 

And then there are the weird hybrid cakes and pastries that are around nowadays. Ordinary terminology has changed too. Biscuits have all become cookies, little buns are called cupcakes or muffins (which are small, soft bread rolls in our part of the UK), some small cakes are called brownies and pies seem to have changed into tarts. I suspect a certain transatlantic influence. But the hybrids are the really interesting names. Here we go: 

 the crookie is a cross between a croissant and a cookie, made by stuffing croissant dough with crushed Oreos and originating in a place called Clafouti Patisserie and Cafe in Toronto; 

a townie is a mixture of brownie and tart; 

the brookster comes from New York and is a mix of brownie, cookie and tart; 

the cronut is croissant and doughnut cross. 

Who knew little cakes could have so many odd names? The cronut is also known as a doissant or a doughssant! And in the UK, our very own Greggs bakeries have their own version: the Greggsnut. 

The original cronut, however, was invented in a bakery in New York. On day one they made 50 and sold out very quickly. By day three they had sold out of the 200 they made by 9,30 am. Not only that but there was an online trade established whereby these delicacies which sold for $5 at the bakery were being resold over the internet for $25. 

 It’s amazing the ways people find to make money. I see it all over the place. On Facebook I have come across a number of people selling crocheted blankets made from the kind of squares I use to teach schoolkids to make. They also sell basic knitted toys, the kind my sisters and I used to make for my mother to sell at the church Christmas Fayre – spelt the traditional way inline with the resurrection of traditional craft skills. 

I should jump on the bandwagon. Maybe I could make a fortune!

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