After the success of the anxPAD in December 2014, Apple unveiled their new product, the hotly anticipated greyPAD, just in time for the January blues earlier this year. Having been an avid user of the anxPAD, which kept me awake at… read more
A Visit to Monkey & Brine, A Sea Monkey Pop-Up Restaurant
I’m sitting in a restaurant on a side street in Brighton. Having just ordered, I gaze at the décor, which is comprised of several fish tanks resting on the window sills and tables. Amongst the sunken pirate ships, ornate treasure chests and strangely statuesque two inch Poseidons, tiny skeletal-like creatures… read more
How to be an Alpha Omega 3 Man
HuffPost UK is running a month-long focus around masculinity in the 21st century, and the pressures men face around identity. To address some of the issues at hand, Building Modern Men presents a snapshot of life for men, from bringing up young boys to… read more
Ian Duncan Smith’s Back-to-Cabaret Scheme
After it was confirmed that Ian Duncan Smith would remain in cabinet as the work and pensions secretary, he wasted no time and pressed ahead with his welfare reforms, one of note being the back-to-cabaret scheme. The scheme aims to… read more
How to Make Eton Mess the Right Way
This is a dessert that I started eating on 8 May, and will continue to stuff my face with every day for the next five years. Whether you’re ordering it at a restaurant or making it for a dinner party… read more
Vegging: A Growing Phenomenon
The term vegging is usually used to describe the act of relaxing or just sitting around, but there is a small community that are looking to reclaim the word and use it to talk about another, wholly different kind of activity…. read more
Fifty Shades of Unemployment
My unemployment was developed from a document entitled Chris’ Curriculum Vitae, which was posted on a One Direction fan fiction site known as reed.co.uk. Deemed unsuitable due to its lack of skills, the CV was removed from the site and sent out as… read more
Got No Game? Here are Some Top Tips to Impress the Ladies (From a Man Who Knows)
‘Make Girls BEG To Sleep With You After SHORT-CIRCUITING Their Emotional And Logical Mind Into A Million Reasons Why They Should…’
To Whom it May Concern: How to Get a Job Interview With a Joke Application
I have been unemployed for the best part of the last three years. Despite a couple of creative successes it wasn’t viable to lead an existence on the back of these, so I had to look for a real job. I… read more
There has been a misconception springing from the church halls and school bake sales, one that depicts us as a unity of rather bland, perhaps overdone sponge with the façade of icing. The application of it is arbitrary, with the vague intention of shaking things up through the use of food colouring. However, the dulled hues of pink and beige tell us that the arbitrariness was merely just a means of unification all along.
Neither the taste nor texture was important. As people bit through the icing and sponge, crunching on the edible ball bearings that adorned it, they never rode the waves of ecstasy as a result. The feeling was one of mere contentment with perhaps a dash of endearment. This is all that we could really offer, for we were no more but a tangible symbol of some higher purpose. Whether it was the event or charity that we were used to help raise funds for, that was all that really mattered. The dryness and lacklustre experience was of no real consequence, and neither were we.
There was a model that we had to conform to, one that consisted of a uniform batter mix, with standard icing. To deviate from this would be to overstep the boundaries, and perhaps transcend into the realm of culinary merit rather than good intentions, and overwriting these good intentions would in turn overwrite the apparent purpose of our existence.
Our rather concise aesthetics seemed to provide a scapegoat for this disregard of our very being. The frilly garments embodied a self-actualisation that assumed that we needn’t be anything more than plain sponge and wanton decoration. Were we not entitled to the same regard and respect as those larger cakes? Perhaps it was our stature and novelty that somewhat trivialised our merit within the baking field.
It was time to break out of the frilly cups that imprisoned us. It was by all means a metaphorical break as we intended to stay very much within the garments that made us who we were. Soon we began to adopt the flavours that were only reserved for proper cakes. We demonstrated hints of Vanilla, and our icing delivered the punch of citrusy sourness that any lemon drizzle cake could. Those who had purchased us out of courtesy didn’t know what hit them.
Very soon after this we began to fully embody our larger counterparts, and people sat at their tables bemused, struck by the uncanny nature of a miniature carrot cake, or chocolate gateau that could fit into the palm of their hand. They of course assumed that we would pale in comparison to the ‘real thing.’ The problem that presented itself with this new step in evolution was the fact that we were seen as mere representations of the larger cakes, an absence of a profound reality masked by a new kind of endearingly uncanny aesthetic.
This was perhaps understandable when taking into account the difficulty of baking several little carrot cakes to the same specification. At least one of those would be a ghostly shadow of the others. Despite being baked in the same oven for the same time, we must remember that these are individuals and should be treated as such.
More often than not, they would sink their teeth into our moist sponge and relive memories of taking a bite from the apple cake of their childhood. These memories are somewhat reworked and enhanced through the concise format of the cup, providing an altogether new experience.
This was progress indeed, but we were still not satisfied and soon after, had begun to harness our format and stature as a canvas for experimentation. What better way of attempting a new flavour than to try it out in miniature? Inevitably these experiments became successes, and we were forming our own signature titles such as The Red Velvet, which brought us into a new era of decadence. The number of new cupcake breeds was growing, and shops and cafes had to be opened for the sole purpose of accommodating them. This was not at all a problem as people accepted this with open arms, and mouths. Green Tea, Earl Grey, Rose, and Lavender Caramel were just some of the few flavours that carried out the second phase of the revolution. The icing, once an off-white blanket, was now treated as an art piece in itself as intricate small roses adorned an enticingly pink cloud of cream cheese frosting.
We are now at the stage where larger cakes are attempting to embody their smaller counterparts. The ones that they had dismissed before as being mere novelty now have something to teach them. While still keeping their physical size they have grown in stature. We are now in menus, at the forefront of glamour in baking, we are subtle and varied, we are artworks, and we can even induce smiles now and again. We’ve come a long way since lying half eaten on a bake sale table, slowly going stale and thinking about when a cupcake revolution might arise.
Count from sixty down to one, ask yourself whether that will be enough. Within the whirring of passing time, several scenarios play out in hypothetical space. Pockets of possibility are created, existing simultaneously until a prolonged beep eradicates all but one. And upon opening the door, one is on the threshold of being either content, or regretful. Go back to the start, when bleary eyed, you poured your hopes for the day into a bowl.
There was uncertainty as to how much to invest, for too little would not be enough to sustain, and too much would weigh one down – a burden of disappointment to carry around for a couple of hours at least. You proceeded to go on to the next stage, opening the gate to your heart. For a second, your hopes and dreams floated in a sea of what was yet to be. Doubt continued to present itself, what was needed was a catalyst, something to imbue a sense of reality, and the possibility for this opened with that of the door, and the placing of the bowl within.
And so we return to the present, aware now of what we have invested, yet this awareness is tinged with uncertainty. One counts from sixty to uncertainty, wondering whether the sea of potentiality is too vast. This is a problem, for if one eats from an unbalanced ratio of contents in the bowl, one ends up consuming a diluted sense of fulfillment.
On the other hand, if one’s hopes and dreams lay in a pond, or even still, a puddle of what is yet to be, then there is a danger of starting the day with what can be called a delusion of grandeur. If the balance of the ratio swings the other way, your hopes and dreams will be in want of development, and thus remain in a primitive state that is too savage for reality and thus never be fully realised.
And as you count down from ten, a scenario exists, parallel to this one, in which you sit at the table, slowly chewing on a sense of failure (due to unrealistic hopes) , thinking that you should have added milk instead.
Three, two, one. The door opens, as you reach in, you burn yourself with over-zealousness, for no matter how enthusiastic one is to begin the day, it may be too much, and surges with too much hope and apprehension for one to take in just yet. You must leave at least one minute to settle to prepare for what lies ahead.
This period may seem a liminal one, waiting in a sixty second void, but take up the spoon of assertion, and as you stir, you may gain some semblance of the future. Here you are, take the bowl, the mellow warmth – today. Present it with the cool breeze of excitement, of one that no longer cares to wait.
The first spoonful invokes the banality of the everyday. This is adequate for many, and for some, it is even perfection. But perhaps one does not wish to start the day with a mouthful of stark reality, and wishes rather, to ease into it. There stands before you an array, perhaps you are tempted by the enveloping of an amber mass, torpid and delicious, recalling memories of beautifully scented meadows. Combined with your dreams, its sweetness and evoking distracts from the reality of underachievement, felt at such early hours.
Alternatively, one may opt for a hail of ‘sensible’ masking – several grains of sweetness that can be said to have a slightly better grip on reality. In choosing one or the other, one is choosing to be either romantic, or realistic. Of course, there is a possibility for one to throw caution to the wind and opt for a generous tablespoon of blackberry jam.
As you embark on an everyday adventure, you think back over the two strands of time that facilitated the act of making porridge. Everything is brushed to the past, but you got what you needed. However, there is often a slight miscalculation in the marking of time strands in relation to this morning act. Past and present is noted, but many forget the future. This third strand is forgotten for various reasons, perhaps one never thinks of it, or one is in too much of a rush to think of it in that particular moment.
The danger is that, if one fails to consider the future when it still exists as a future, then they will surely bear the repercussions when the future becomes a regretful past. And so this latter makes itself known to the person, who upon arriving back home after their day of events, finds an empty bowl left on the table. However, This bowl is not completely empty but contains the remnants of the morning’s hopes and dreams, and these hopes and dreams are not as they were – full of warmth and appetizing anticipation for potentiality, but are now hard, irremovable fossils of lost hope.
There they remain in the bowl, as if Medusa herself had cast her glare upon them. There seems to be only one course of action to take, and so one must fill the bowl with regret, ironically from the same source as the potentiality of the morning. Lost hopes and dreams must now remain in this pool of regret until there is an acceptance of what was never achieved, never realised.
This must be done, for one is doing it with a consideration of the future, the morrow, when the process is to be repeated, when a new batch of hopes and dreams are poured in and uncertainty hangs over you as you count from sixty down to one.
Down, up, down, up. This toaster doesn’t work properly, and each push downwards pushes me further into the day. I enter it without quite forming my words, or forming myself. With each failed attempt I move further away from where I had begun, the seemingly wholesome yeast of my existence.
I think of where I could be, cutting through the crust of uncertainty to be met by the soft fluffiness of purpose. Purpose is imminent because there was a point earlier in the process where I proved myself by moving from one state to another. A transition was made from a baking tin of semi consciousness to one of complete awareness, from which I arose as a new person. I did of course implement patience when getting ready, being careful not to open doors so as to confuse my new state of consciousness.
If I was feeling confident I would have scattered poppy seeds or embedded olives, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself and thus affect the routine. To be propelled successfully into the day is to be propelled from an idea of simplicity, a plain white one perhaps. As I push myself forward I leave crumbs around, they are mini projections, snippets of potentialities that may materialize through the various decisions I make during the day. They are however just sub-genres of this chunk of a decision I have made and now proceed to spread with butter. Of course, it doesn’t have to end there – there are a plethora of ideas that I may adorn upon my golden crusted starting point. However, I shan’t delve into this subject quite yet for it may be more appropriate to address it at lunch time. Without any further ado I spring forward from one textural bite towards a smooth journey and carbohydrate induced productivity.
This is where I could be, but alas it is not where I am. Down, up, down, up. The spaces between them grow smaller until it becomes apparent that I will never reach the pinnacle of this part of the routine. I will never get to ‘toast.’ Instead, I am left with this liminal square, my granary slate, ‘best of both,’ void of character. At a loss of what to do other than to lather with butter and at once becoming a conductor of dull notes. I try to alter my state of consciousness so I can approach the day with some lucidity, but it is too late and the decision I made has become stale. The tentatively bitten morning stares back at me, set in stone beneath a rapidly congealing butter substitute. Perhaps I should have had cereal instead, but that of course comes with its own set of problems.
One often finds, when sitting at the breakfast table, that he knows not what to say. The toast, adorned with nothing but butter, has exhausted itself on any subject and has thus led to one’s nervous panning of the room and a sudden interest in the intricacies of the plate. It is at these times that one must turn to the only thing that can offer salvation from this wordless morning stupor, preserves.
Although fruits are adequate in this situation, they can only offer a rather separate digression. Despite providing a refreshing change in conversation, it is a rather sharp one that can only go so far. One needs to digress more fluidly into a topic through a constant in the language inherent in this particular morning task. This is why jam, with its combination of fluidity and viscosity, is the perfect conduit to move between topics and ideas.
Let us go back to the start, where the original fruits sit in the pot as robust purveyors of language. As mentioned before, they can only go so far to carry out the task on this particular occasion. This is even more so when they are in the pot, only giving off the scent of the ideas they hold. It is very much a pot of potentiality, and one wonders exactly when they will fulfil this potential. The heat is on, yet nothing happens. They remain there in a state of complacency, holding onto the ideas they represent. You turn up the heat, but think against it for you don’t want to snub the conversation through burning zeal.
Perhaps a little water is needed, it lubricates the dialogue and acts as a chair, or a self-actualising ‘ice breaker,’ (there’s a pun in there somewhere). Sure enough, the fruits warm to each other through promoted conversation, but it is one that moves too freely and without regard for the topics at hand. The thoughts that once met you with nothing but a cold silence and frosty reception now flow towards you with a rambunctious and tart intensity.
In this state, they are too much to handle, and one can’t seem to get a grasp on anything. It is fortunate then that there follows a gold dusting that will change the course of this convoluted conversation. The thoughts, whizzing around with the same vigour, show no signs of abating, but unbeknownst to them the pectin molecules are slowly forming a network that will trap the fruits and water within the shape that is so familiar to our mornings. These thoughts are starting to travel at a reasonable speed, but they are still far too intense for one to handle. Let us introduce a mediator, a large amount of granules to make the almost unpalatable sharpness of pure ideas more palatable.