Beware bakeware borrowing blight

There I was, innocently enjoying a Sunday lie-in with a cup of tea and the Sunday supplements, while allowing my sleep-soothed mind to gambol unfettered across the fertile Spring landscape. When suddenly an unwelcome thought elbowed its way to the forefront of my psyche. To wit: my neighbour had borrowed a favourite traybake tin and hadn’t yet returned it.

It is rarely a good idea to lend bakeware. Unlike sharing other loved possessions, sharing bakeware is fraught with emotional dangers most women simply don’t recognise until too late. My advice to you is: don’t do it.

Sharing recipes is one thing – it’s basically showing off. Books, you can write your name in. Clothes are instantly recognisable (though over the age of 18 it’s both improbable and undesirable that any of your friends have either the same dress sense or body shape as you). Sharing chocolate is essential in an hormonal emergency. Sharing children often means you get more back than you originally leant out.

But bakeware doesn’t have an inbuilt homing instinct, and it doesn’t have a natural allegiance: it will settle where it is loved and useful. The likelihood is, once it’s left your kitchen it’s gone for good, having bedded down in someone else’s. If you don’t believe me, go have a look at your bakeware cupboard. Unless you own a cookshop, I’ll bet a bundt and a couple of darioles that you can’t remember the provenance of 30–50% of the pieces that lurk within.

Now, I must explain that in this instance I had thought through the possible consequences of allowing a prized tin into the home of Another Woman. But I had reason to believe myself safe from the blight of broken friendships that inevitably results from unreturned bakeware. The bitter, bitter resentments that can fester for decades. The slow, smouldering, possessive rage that stokes itself on petty slights and builds to a ghastly white-hot fury…

I thought I was safe because: (1) I have a set of keys for her house and (2) I recently discovered that permanent pen leaves an indelible mark on Silverwood’s silver anodised aluminium, which is what most of my bakeware is. So I have etched my address, NI number and blood group on every single piece of it, with a view to ultimately creating a detailed indexing system, just in case.

I also felt morally obliged to lend her the tin because I’d been responsible for her needing it, having off-loaded a portion of German Sourdough Friendship Cake on her the week previously. It is too much to ask a neighbour to keep alive an ancient culture (as in ‘yoghurt’, not ‘civilisation’) without providing the wherewithal to do it.

But now I wanted the tin back. Its absence was ruining my Sunday and giving me a tension headache. Rather than wait for her to go on holiday and then let myself in to steal it back, I hatched the brilliant, brilliant plan of simply asking for it, because I needed to bake. To give the excuse the ring of truth (and to celebrate my happiness at its homecoming), I immediately baked a scrumptious lemon drizzle cake, using a recipe borrowed from Mary Berry (who doesn’t mind at all, and furthermore never etches her bakeware, which makes her a much nobler person than me).

My Sunday was saved, my friendship with my neighbour is still intact, and my Silverwood Eyecatcher Brownie tin is back in the arms of its first true love.

Which proves that baking is a natural emollient. So if you are feeling troubled and chocolate somehow just won’t cut it, help yourself to this recipe. But perhaps make do with your own bakeware rather than bother the neighbours. 


Posted: 03-Apr-12


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