No plot twists here friends, I’m strangely satisfied to report that baking with Doris has been everything you would expect: a spectacularly beautiful failure. I’m glad that those of you who have privately requested Doris bakes will not be disappointed.
I ended up with a mountain of flour that didn’t make sense to add to the mixture (How do you covert cups into mL anyway?), I used the cupcake papers but had no muffin tray and I’ve ended up with yellow-ish scone-resembling flat cakes with black bits in them (blueberries).
Let it be noted that Doris is not without company this week, with Cheffy casually attempting a lemon sort of situation on a Monday morning that turned into a burnt, dense and zesty oil spill. Imagine having the sheer audacity to just invent a recipe in your head and the balls to put that together, pop it in the oven and believe it will work out. The mind boggles.
At a dinner gathering last week, our resident baker by trade was doing his usual baking thing and inquired innocently, ‘Anais, do you know what’s going on with the oven?,’ before processing who he was asking the question and realising I obviously did not. Well, I would now like to respond that I have no flipping idea what is going on with the oven but I can confirm it doesn’t do what it’s told.
I would also like to remind said baker that I am coeliac, and although I’m a very naughty coeliac, my struggles are real and he should stop cooking delicious glutinous goods in the oven.
Despite living in the golden age of allergies and aversions, it remains a foodie faux pas to self-identify as gluten-free or to suffer from the more serious medical condition of coeliac disease. In my case, I had a minor physical and mental meltdown at 16 that led to the discovery of my coeliac disease. And although the adoption of a gluten-free diet cured a world of pain, I’ve been in denial about my inability to digest croissants and crepe ever since.
Much like the pronunciation of my own name, being gluten-free is one of those things other people really enjoy educating me about.
“It’s not the gluten you know, it’s the pesticides in the grain now, did you know that?”
“You should have rye bread!”
“Have you tried spelt?”
“If you ferment the grain you will be able to absorb it.”
“A little bit won’t hurt!”
“It’s not a real disease.”
“Like the spice, Anise.”
While being grateful for all these experts on French and my condition so generously offering their wisdom, I continue to poorly manage my condition myself. I still hold out that I’ve been misdiagnosed — surely it wasn’t meant to be me — I love bakery treats too much.
Looking after myself has never been the top of my priority list. Somewhere along the way I inadvertently subscribed to the Hunter S. Thompson school of health and wellbeing: excess, fun and no thought for the future.
But now in my 30s the holes in this theory are becoming glaringly obvious. Time to grow up. Not caring isn’t cool anymore. I’ve started to think about my health like it matters. Like an old person that says things like, “if you haven’t got your health you haven’t got anything!”
Thus, at the beginning of the year I quietly quit smoking. Why quietly, you ask? Well just incase I had to quietly un-quit like last time and also because nobody likes a suitably smug vocal ex-smoker.
Anyway, people keep telling me know much better I must be feeling now that I don’t smoke. Well, I don’t. I just don’t. Stop asking me. In fact, I think I got asthma for a period there and I’ve only just recently been able to tolerate sitting through drunk people’s stories.
Same goes for Dry July. Ohhhhhhh you must be feeling great, they say. So clear! Good on you, they say.
I feel sober, that’s how I feel. I feel bloody thirsty. Last night I dreamed I had an eternal packet of Gudang Guram clove cigarettes and an endless supply of elaborate cocktails on a beach in Bali.
I take really long walks on the beach for the sake of it, drink lemon lime and bitters at the pub and I’ve just baked gluten-free muffins on a Wednesday night. Like that’s where I’m at.
If you ask me, there are few greater follies than gluten-free baking and I’m glad there is at least one form of wickedness I am not tempted to return to.
Gluten-free blueberry & lemon muffins: 2/10. Will not be repeating. Gluten-free treats are always best created, baked and purchased from someone suitably patient and mild-mannered.