Letter from the i editor: On your marks, get set, bake!


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If I hear one more person talking about baking I’ll explode. That’s because talking about it usually leads to someone doing it, and when the baking’s done (usually not by me) the smug baker will expect – demand – an appreciative audience (usually me).

It’s got a lot worse recently, thanks to the huge cult success of the Great British Bake Off. The winner will be decided tonight: is it to be swotty Holly, who measures her pastry with a ruler; Joanne, the housewife from Essex, who just entered “to do something for herself”; or Mary-Anne, a “larger than life” character and experimental baker?

Apparently, the crew’s average weight went up by 7lb during filming (says Grazia). And I have no idea how presenting duo Mel and Sue and the judges, Mary Berry (over 70 cookery books and counting) and Paul Hollywood (the author of 100 Great Breads), still fit within a frame of film.

I had to give up my very nascent baking habit when I learned one day that a whole pack (!) of butter went into the lemon polenta cake I had loved all my childhood! Now, I am more likely to bake a lasagne than cake. The bread-maker stares at me, forlorn. But, I remain in awe of tonight’s contestants, who will be fretting over their soggy bottoms. The standard is quite incredible, it must be if it’s even better than that of i’s star baker, Lisa, The Independent’s executive editor, whose output is delicious.

So, yes, “On your marks, get set, bake!” Let’s watch, drool and get teary over irregularly iced buns and ginger snaps. But, I’m sorry, life’s too short to make your own croissants – especially when you have a friend called Valerie who has her own wonderful pâtisserie.