I need to get a new posting up on the site. Despite writing like the original grumpy old man I somehow seem to have acquired a decent audience amongst female readers and if I do a football posting, like the last one, my visitor numbers dip alarmingly. It’s a shame because I’m a passionate footie fan but clearly the views of ex-pro pundits and on dedicated football sites are far more interesting. Fair enough so it’s back to metrosexual subjects and today’s is baking. Ooh controversial.Now I need to declare an interest here. It’s not that I’m a shameless convert to cooking, which I am; but as I’m going to have a bit of a poke at the subject of baking, you should know that my dad was employed in the bread business virtually all his working life and I spent every school/uni break from the age of 15 until I got married at 20, working in bakeries. So I’m not someone who has a problem with the art of baking.
In fact here’s a bit of a secret. When I was growing up my (near) home town of Blackpool was filled with 1000’s of guest houses packed with literally millions of holiday makers and the standard B&B meal came with bread and butter. Bread was a huge business in the town in the 50’s and early 60’s and my dad was the undisputed king of the bread delivery guys. No-one ever came close to his sales achievements. But tastes in holidays and food changed in the late 60’s and kiss-me-quick Blackpool and the bread business suffered as the Spanish package holidays took off. One by one the big bakeries closed in Blackpool and my dad found himself to be king of a dying regime. I was at uni and was also married and I figured that my future lay in finishing my education and moving to London and getting involved in business that was growing and full of career promise. But here’s the thing, and I’ve never really mentioned it before, I actually secretly hoped that my dad and I could have gone into business together then. It would have been easy to pick up some ovens for virtually nothing from the redundant bakeries and I had a developing interest in the increasing taste for the consumption of new bread types especially continental styles. My dad remained the greatest salesman, albeit of the old style white tin loaf, but I knew he could embrace a new product if need be. We didn’t discuss this though. I was too busy studying and he was busy trying to re-define himself in another industry. Opportunity knocked but neither of us were in to answer the door I guess. And just look at the range of bread products available in our supermarkets and local bakeries now.
One of the people who has tapped into that market (and well done he) has been Paul Hollywood, co-star alongside Mary Berry of the hugely-popular Great British Bake Off tv programme on BBC. I’m not a fan. I love the subject of bread and after all this time we are about to get our first bread-maker and start to fulfill that long time dream! But cakes….it’s a different genre altogether and it’s not for me to be honest. Without wishing to sound too disrespectful it’s all a bit cup-cake and girlie isn’t it?
Come on you know what I mean. And if the sponges aren’t doing it for me, well the presenters certainly are a worry:
Actually Mary Berry’s a lovely old gal and so deeply into her cakes et al. But she kind of reminds me of a former colleague who was of fewer years but also very prim and nicely-groomed, well-mannered yet her tetchy attitude is so reminiscent. I watch Mary and see G. But it’s that dumpy muffin next to her who really irritates me. Paul, very nice first name of course, Hollywood; umm…comes from Wallasey, but makes like he’s a Rodeo Drive habitue. If you told me that 10 years ago he was a mobile phone salesman I’d well believe it. What’s with that hair-style and hair face combo? Brushed forward, greying rapidly and gelled up like a vanilla slice with iced topping. It smacks of trying a little too hard to look oh so cool. Not necessary mate standing next to septuagenarian Mary in a tent in a field making carrot cakes.
Oh I know the programme’s cult viewing now and he’s a sexy little hottie in all the sleb ladies mags but amongst the Teddington massive he’s a bit of a battenburg boy. Getting all serious about cakes; it’s not a proper job for a man is it?