I taught them to cook vidya4 - Flipbook - Page 36
My mother is an expert rock cake cook and can turn the plain
mixture into jam buns and a horrid seed cake by adding black,
spiky caraway seeds that look like mouse droppings and taste of
My sister took a biscuit tin full of our mother’s rock cakes
on her travels with her boyfriend by Land Rover to Tehran. At
the Turkish-Iran border she used them as bribes when stopped
for papers and permits. She’s blond and looks like Farrah
Fawcett Major so she was lucky that the border guards were only
interested in her buns and not her body. And lucky they didn’t
search the Land Rover’s dashboard compartment and find the
gun that her boyfriend had hidden.
Rock cakes are a middle range cooking skill, lodged between
apple crumble and shortcrust pastry.
My teaching practice tutor said that shifting from easy to
challenging recipes was Progression, but when I see sticky, fatty
fingers squeezing a soggy flour dough it’s more like a Mess.
By now they know the rules for rubbing in.
‘Come on Ray – show how it’s done.’
He wobbles his hips and joggles his mixing bowl, picks the
lumps and squeezes.
‘Add your sultanas and mixed peel and stir to a soft dough
with eggy milk.’
The contents of my sultana jar have shrunk and I wonder
which boys have sneaked into the storeroom and scooped them
out for snacks.
‘Put little piles on your greased baking tray, Ray.’
‘Piles Miss? How big is a pile?’
Ray twizzles to the class and he’s on the tease.
‘OK, put spoonfuls on the tray then into the oven for 20
There are warm, spicy smells as I circle the room, crouching