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May 27, 2010


What a pity that journalist was so jaded! Some people just don't appreciate the assembly of refined carbs and accept it for what it is - Pure heaven.

How sad that someone would see this as a sign to impress!
How many home baked cakes on pretty plates and jugs of flowers are placed in homes everywhere just for the occupants own pleasure. They're not there for anyones approval but purely for the sheer delight of making /arranging them!
Vivienne x

There is nothing more welcoming than homemade food, and especially cakes. And it is such a perfect excuse, to bake a favorite or try something new you've been wanting to. My grandmother used to keep a couple of meringue cakes at hand and some cream and jam, and then she would be ready with the 'coffee and cakes' ( the custom in norway) in 10 minutes, to welcome surprise guests. It is a really good tradition.

Jane - as always, you've hit the nail on the head. It is so sad that people find it strange or think there is an ulterior motive. My mother always has a tin of something, be it fruitcake, flapjacks or fairy cakes, and I always bake a cake if friends are coming over for a natter. And they are always so appreciative.

I'm going to have to suggest that WI spread to my lot. Our meetings are held in a bar, so it tends to be more of the liquid variety!

I love to bake and I love to bake for people. I never do it to impress them. I love to have a tin of something homemade in case somone drops by. I would much rather have a tin of homemade wobbly and bobbly jam tarts than a half eaten packet of digestive biscutes to offer.

So sad that the journo wanted to twist what was simply a very welcoming gesture on your part.

Also - I'd join Malago WI in a flash if I lived near!

I can only assume Journalist Lady never bakes - one has to just to understand the pleasure of creating goodies for visitors or even just for one's family coming home after a hard day. I always smile when I'm baking, partly because because I'm looking forward to tucking into the end result myself, but mostly because I'm anticipating the delight of others.
What a gorgeous event you went to. Those button biscuits sum it up for me, they are just so adorable ... so simple really but a lovely gesture.

Oh I wish we had a WI here - it sounds wonderful! Good old fashioned simple and pleasant living. It makes you realize that that is how life should be and that we all need to slow down and smell the roses and eat the home-made biscuits and drink the tea (and not out of a take-away cup from Starbucks either!).

By the way.....you may just be a domestic goddess...but I won't tell anyone.....:)

I baked a simple victoria sponge, some flapjacks and made some sandwiches for a lunch for my NCT group, about 6-7 weeks after we had had our babies. When I mentioned I was doing this this to a friend (also a mum) she was horrified saying they would all think I was showing off and they wouldn't invite me round in return for fear of not living up to my efforts! I have to say this upset me and took the shine off what I thought was just essentially a nice, welcoming thing to do, something which as someone who does cook and bake a lot (esp pre baby) was actually not really a bother. It never occurred to me that anyone would think in doing this that I was showing off or trying to start some sort of competition. Luckily the girls in the group didn't seem to share her opinion and a good time was had by all (I hope!)

The button biscuits are absolutely delightful. I'll have to try that the next time I make a batch of shortbread.

Thank you for yet another lovely post!

I've always had trouble with the same thing. If people can't do what you do, they always assume you're trying to show them up. Baking for visitors or family is such a wonderful pleasure. At least your friends and family know it comes out of a desire to give pleasure, not show off.

Hooray! Well said, as usual. I agree that baking is such a pleasure and unless I want to be the size of a large house, a pleasure best shared with others. Your WI encounter sounded absolutely lovely.

It's very sad these days that so often a gesture of pure goodwill is seen as an attempt at oneupmanship. It used to be the norm to bake for visitors or always to have something in case, now there's such conditioning towards pure self interest it's almost scorned. It's the same with making handmade baby gifts - I was told recently by 'a friend' not to bother giving to someone as they could easily afford to buy what they needed. Sad that the world is becoming so small minded and selfregarding.

Oh, I get that attitude all the time. It really annoys me.It's one of the reasons I started blogging because I knew I'd be able to witter on about baking without people a)thinking I was showing off and b)thinking I was practising some sort of magic art that they could never aspire to- baking a cake is not hard.

My main reason for baking is not to welcome guests or to provide for my family, although that's a big part of it, no, the main reason I bake is so that I can EAT CAKE! :o)

I come from a family where when there´s visitors (even unexpected ones) a table is always set with a cake or whatever is in the fridge or pantry. Too bad some people don´t understand the act of sharing a slice of cake. But it´s their problem, really. Fortunately there are always people who do understand the pleasure and the joy in it, like the Malago WI! :) (Which, by the way, I´d definitely join too if I lived nearby!)

Goodness, I looked at their website and if I only lived in Bristol still I'd join tomorrow! Sadly all the groups where I live in Bath seem to meet during the day - not an option for those of us who have day jobs. What a shame.

Folks who put other people's efforts down are just envious, and should straighten up and see the beauty in front of them. Creating beauty is what you do, and comes from who you are. I so enjoy your word and photo pictures. All of you who have the ability to bake, and sew-rejoice in who you are!

The people I work with are thrilled when I bake. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I'll be baking a Featherbed Cake (from Rose's Heavenly Cakes) tonight.

Cake for breakfast! yum.

Sounds like a wonderful meeting. Don't you think sharing conversation and goodies with others who are not trying to win some unspoken game, but be truly hospitable and gracious is just the best? It makes the conversations sparkle more and the treats more delectable.

Ah, Jane, don't worry about it. That reporter was just jealous that she can't cook or bake. When I come to interview you, I'll happily consume every cookie, cake, biscuit and pie you offer me!

Wow, I want to join this group! What a great group, and how cool is it that they take the time to make themselves feel welcomed and special at their own meetings? That's the way it should be. I'm equally impressed that their efforts are done from pure motives and not from trying to one-up each other. That seems somewhat rare and wonderful these days.

What a beautiful welcome and you deserve it. I'm sorry the journalist so obviously misinterpreted your lovely gesture. Baking for someone, or preparing meals is one of the best gifts of time that you can give someone. I like to think of it as a double gift, one to myself , because I enjoy it so much and the baked item or meal for my family because it's made with love and it's nourishing ( usually ;) Bake on!

Oh, yum.

I love baking, and taking photographs of my cakes, and of my flowers, and of the lovely things in life. I was told by a friend the other day that my blog was aspirational, which struck me as very funny. We don't have lots of 'stuff' or loads of money. But I take pleasure in the beauty of the everyday, and a tableful of cakes is the sort of thing that makes me happy.

I've come across the attitude displayed by that journalist before, and it's always in people who feel a bit threatened.

This is a delightful post, until the last sentence. My suggestion is to put a period after the word "negatively" and let it go!

Domestic goddessness seems to be used as an insult too often, by the journalist you mention, obviously, but almost by your own post, as well. It is hard to get those nasties out of one's head, isn't it? Perhaps we should eat more cake to get the energy to do so.
And I love those luggage labels.

Food always means welcome and love to me. It is what I miss about my mother and hope it will be what my children will remember about me.

Don't change.

Joining the WI is one of my life's ambitions, this only spurs me on more - what a naturally aesthetic and beautiful welcome and spread!

It's sad that we've almost lost the concept of naturally baking to welcome a visitor, that is how it's been for generations.

I wish I lived in Malago! I'd be joining. On the home baking note, I like you love to bake. But I have felt recently that if I do say, perhaps when family are here to stay, Oh it's homemade I feel I sound a bit smug. And I have felt I will try not to say it. I am not smug, nor are you,we do it with pride. I love to bake and bake with love. We should all be proud to bake! Thank you Jane for always bringing us such a lovely blog, interesting viewpoints, and beautiful photos.

I'm thinking about joining my local WI, but it doesn't look as achingly hip and trendy as that one. I love to make home made gifts and cards, but I know that some recipients think I'm just being "cheap" .

I wonder what she would have written if you hadn't baked anything? With some people, you can't win (but at least you know you're the one with manners).

I was feeling a little down yesterday so I baked cup cakes. Piles of pink icing layered with little marshmallows or pink hearts and silver balls soon lifed my spirits. My Son lifted the glass dome and declared them the best yet. No domestic goddess in my house but the best therapy for when I am missing my Mother[who I miss every day] and A level revising hunger raids.
Jane -I love your blog. Not just the pictures but also the book comments.

Now you have done it, Jane. For the first time I am envious, not just appreciative. That meeting with so many women who care about beauty and details. What a joy to be settled in with them for an afternoon.

I've never understood why people feel the need to attack you for enjoying and sharing domestic pleasures. I too like quilting and sewing and baking and gardening. And I don't think enjoying "nesting," as I consider it, has to conflict with having a career.

Is it because of those people and such criticism that you don't blog like you used to? I miss your more contemplative musings from your old blog. I have "The Gentle Art of Domesticity," but it's not quite the same.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to say that you have readers who don't criticize you for such things.

It sounds like the journalist had no idea whatsoever who she was interviewing! However, I've come across this myself.

I used to be a professional baker/pastry chef so loads of people still think of me in a lah-dee-dah kind of way (only in regards to baking though!)--even my MIL. And I hate it. I bake for people because I love them or because I want them to feel at home. Simple as that.

What a gorgeous event you went to. Those button biscuits sum it up for me, they are just so adorable ... so simple really but a lovely gesture.

My knitting group mostly meet at a cafe, but our occasional home knit-ins are also a great excuse to bake new, exciting and delicious treats to share. We have a wonderful time. Non-bakers do get intimidated when you bring new tasties to the table, because they can't understand how much fun we find baking. Kitchens tend to really stress non-bakers out I find. I think it's like marathon runners- they love it, and the rest of us are awed and horrified by the very thought ;)

If it wasn't sad, it would be funny! I can't imagine anything much more lovely than being welcomed into a home with homemade cake or biscuits! Actually, at my little library I have been known to chase the IT man round the place until he gives in and accepts a cup of tea. I have visions of a scene on Eastenders or similar...'you'll NEVER guess what she did? She only went and offered me cake!!? How dare she?!'

That it had nothing to do with baking oneupmanship and competition or striving to attain 'domestic goddess' status; it was simply something they enjoy

Yes! That, totally. I will admit to envying the mad skillz of these bakers and decorators as I see the photos--I just don't have the chops to pull that together--but I can see well enough that it's something they just get a kick out of doing, something that's fun for them.

People are like that about my knitting & spinning, sometimes--a little resentful, as if I'm doing it to show off, when really I just love making stuff.

What a lovely welcome, Jane. Love those colourful button biscuits.

I see someone else commented on them above. ;o))

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