Sunday, 5 April 2015

No Poet Reckons On It

I wrote this cake baking poem in November 2013 but forgot to put it on my blog. The reason for the poem? It was in response to a friends' comment about another of my poems:

I think we now need five Petrarchan sonnets about the five cakes with each cake being a step t’ward enlightenment and the filling representing man's quest for meaning in a Godless universe, not that rubbish you churned out the other day about a couple's first kiss.

I thought, "There's a challenge," and off I went. However, despite the rhyme scheme and fourteen lines, they didn't quite qualify as Petrarchan sonnets - hence the title of the poem. 

So there you go, Neil.

No Poet Reckons On It

  The kitchen cupboard’s sliding door
I reached toward with steady hand
And as I pushed with fingers spanned
I was surprised at what I saw.
I was not shaken to the core
But there they stood – the Home Pride brand:
Two packs self-raising to demand
That they are used, not left in store.
  No need for flowery words to know
I should not let them go to waste
(In austere times it’s in bad taste).
Regarding taste – what should I make?
Mince pies or scones? I don’t think so –
Perhaps it’s time to bake a cake.

  One cake’s good – but why not two?
Cool them on a baking tray,
Freeze one for another day.
But butter? Better check that, too.
Ah yes, the fridge confirms it’s true;
Six packets there in neat array.
Plenty there to take and weigh,
Plenty there to see me through.
  As it stands they are too cold.
The butter’s hard – it won’t behave.
I’ll have to use the microwave
To soften it for Kenwood’s sake.
The creaminess will then unfold
And I can start to make my cake.

  Two cakes? Good – but why not three?
Count the eggs, and check by rote
Discarding ones that stay afloat.
Break them, check them separately
(Bad ones spoil the rest, you see;
You don’t want eggshell in your throat).
Weigh them without shells and note
Flour, eggs and fat weigh equally.
  Get out the whisk and start to beat
We want it smooth, so whisk away
Remove the snotty bits, okay?
We’re nearly there: make no mistake
What we have – almost complete
Ingredients to bake my cake.

  Three cakes? Good – but why not four?
Sugar next, I’m out of Castor!
Blitz my own, it will be faster.
Blitz it so it’s fine to pour.
How much to process, less or more?
Equal weights. Avoid disaster.
Don’t forget that you’re the master
And that you’ve done this before.
  Vanilla extract’s what we’ll use:
Perking up the general mix.
Grease the tins preventing sticks –
Another measure I must take.
Oven on, so I can choose
A temperature to bake my cake.

  Four cakes? Good. But let’s make five.
Add the sugar to the fat
Add the whisked eggs after that
Time is short so that why I’ve
Mixed this up in overdrive.
Next, the flour; a caveat:
Added cocoa? Chocolate.
Slam tins so bubbles don’t survive.
  Baked, cooled on trays, but then: what filling?
Do not suffer undue strife.
Variety’s the spice of life
No need for you to bother gleaning
What the Universe is willing.
Cake itself gives life its meaning.