The Great Christmas Cake Off
Today as part of Occupational Therapy we’re team making mince pies. Giovanni used to be a chef in Italy. Well, he used to cook pizzas, someone says.
That’s enough to make him our de-facto master chef. And I suggest we call him Gordon.
Yes you can, he replies, in his strongest Italian accent. But you better do what I fucking say.
He’s giggling as the nurses say: no cooking if there’s swearing.
But there’s not much real baking anyway. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith would be horrified. Shop bought pastry and jars of mincemeat?
It’s a sacrilege of Santa.
Quadriplegia’s rolling out the pastry while I’m greasing the pastry tins.
Someone doesn’t like mincemeat and wants stewed apple filling.
Then there’s a request for jam from Bernard, whose blood sugar levels are rising despite the best attempts of his wife to keep his diabetes under còntrol.
The only one who’s lost control is me. I can’t speak and can barely breathe I’m laughing so much. Tears are rolling down my face.
Shouldn’t we be blind baking, I suggest, trawling up some long forgotten baking rule from school years.
No, rules our head chef. So I begin to fill our pies with mincemeat.
Are these deep filled then? I try again. This pastry making is serious business. I’d never even heard of the concept until I saw it mentioned in a Christmas tv ad a few days ago.
I don’t know what that means, says Giovanni. The idea or my sentence, I ask? Oh never mind.
My next challenge: how to glaze the tops with an egg wash when I’ve already liberally sprinkled them with cinnamon powder.