All that for two bananas!

How many bananas does it take to trash a kitchen? My father will tell you only one, but that’s another story. I say two because that’s how many Gretta needs to make a banana cake.

It’s not the bananas per se that make a mess but the baking process which now mimics the TV chef. Ingredients were stored in the pantry then taken out and measured into the mixing bowl. Now it seems, everything is measured in advance into ramakins and lined up on the kitchen bench. That’s fine when you’re working from a mock up kitchen in a TV studio to a strict production schedule, but how practical is it really?

Why dirty all those bowls when the ingredients could have been measured straight out of the Tupperware container? Having spent four years working as a kitchen hand I always question the washing up. Sure, everybody has a dishwasher these days or a couple of kids in lieu to wash and dry. But it’s not an eco-friendly concept and just leads to us wanting more space in which to work.

Small wonder modern kitchens are getting bigger when most of the bench space is taken up with white goods and coffee machines. There’s barely enough room to make a sandwich let alone bake a cake or roll the pastry for an apple pie. (That’s right people, in this house we—I say we loosely—still make the pastry by hand, from scratch). When you start measuring everything out like you’re Maggie Beer going head to head with Simon Bryant on The Cook and the Chef, you soon run out of room. Gretta wants extra bench space; but I’ve seen her do more with a lot less.

We cleaned out the office yesterday and I rediscovered the log from our sailing adventure in 2002. On the 6thJuly I wrote ‘Had our sails up by 07.15 and with a calm sea and light winds from the WNW we skipped along at 5 knots. By 08.00 Gretta was below baking a loaf of bread.’ In a galley space smaller than our current double bowl sink, she was mixing, kneading and proving a loaf of bread while under way. I’d like to see Mary Berry do that on the Great British Bake Off. There wouldn’t be many ingredients left in bowls after a quick tack I can tell you.

I suspect many a grey nomad has found the kitchen in a 40’ caravan no bigger the one on our boat and quickly rediscovered the art of baking sans extravagance. Which means one measuring spoon does the lot. I’m not advocating going backwards and putting the hip bath back in the kitchen. But I believe TV chefs have a social obligation to reduce the unrealistic expectation placed on stay at home bakers (formerly known as house wives) to have on hand an inexhaustible supply of ramakins.

While you digest that I’ll do the same to a slice banana cake slathered in melting butter.


The washing up is worth it.