Like most of the nation, I love The Great British Bake Off. But also, like most of the nation (I suspect), my own forays into baking are few and far between. It’s easy to blame the stresses of work and everyday life on this lack of homemade cake. It’s easy because it’s true – I just can’t find the time to bake like I used to. About three years ago when my kids were much younger, I used to make much more of an effort. When there was no work to cram into the daylight hours and baking was much more preferable to, say, housework.
Of course, baking is still much more preferable to housework, but an increased workload means I don’t have much time for either these days. However, when watching the final of The Great British Bake Off, I was struck down in awe by eventual victor Nancy, a woman who not only bakes with her many, many grandchildren, but also found time to complete a Master’s degree, train a dog to compete in Crufts and talks about whipping up a batch of croissants at Christmas like it was akin to making a round of ham sandwiches.
I really, really love Nancy.
And yet, I know I will never, ever reach her heights of greatness. She is clearly some sort of time management guru or practices witchcraft in what little spare time she must have.
BUT, she is unarguably an inspiration and she has reminded me that if you want to do something enough, then you just have to go ahead and make time to do it. I always wanted to be one of those parents who involved their kids in the whole baking process. You know the kind – they’re on the cover of celebrity cookbooks with a dusting of flour in their hair and a ruddy-cheeked look that only comes from some light-hearted family bonding over a short-crust pastry rather than say, an hour’s worth of exasperation as it would in my case.
Also, have you noticed how these families never sweat in their photos? Baking with kids is HARD WORK. It invariably ends in arguments, which is why I always have to leave it for long periods before I attempt the ‘family bonding’ again, long enough so I forget how stressful it is.
But then there are the golden moments, when it’s actually fun, when we don’t care that whatever we’ve attempted to bake doesn’t turn out quite like the picture in the book because what matters is that it’s ours and we made it (without tears this time).
So in honour of the clearly magical Nancy, I’m going to pledge more time to baking when I can, and I’m going to do it with the kids, not wait until they’ve gone to bed and partake is some surreptitious after hours baking, which may be quicker but isn’t half as much fun. And besides, if I’m in the kitchen in the evenings, I can’t watch The Great British Bake Off, can I?
What do you mean it won’t be on again for another year?!
Share you best moments of the 2014 series of GBBO below…