Making cakes from scratch doesn’t make you nice

Thanks to Masterchef and a smorgasbord of cooking shows where the ability to produce a tonka bean done nine ways on a bed of confit foam is seen as a heroic deed, cake baking is the latest food fashion victim.

Making cakes from scratch – as opposed to the time-honoured method of packet mixes – is seen as a sign of love, kindness and general all round niceness. It seems to me that making cakes from scratch is enough to give a person a Mary Mackillop style halo, whereas if you’ve made a cake from a packet mix you are seen as the devil’s spawn or possibly related to Frank Sartor. 

But wait a minute …. it’s just a cake, people. It’s not a measure of spiritual worth, intrinsic human value or self-esteem. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it doesn’t even mean you can’t cook. It’s simply a nice enough tasting cake with a bit of icing, whipped out at short notice to serve as dessert at a party, take to a morning tea or sell at a cake stall. It’s not a moral issue, any more than, say jogging, is an ethical dilemma. As a packet mix ingesting non-jogger, I rest my case.

But try telling that to the packet mix Nazis, who sneer and look snooty during cake making confession time.  The only answer is to pretend you made it from scratch (they never know the difference), then wait for their impressed oohs and ahs, before they ask you for the recipe.


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