It’s easy to get caught up in the details, lose sight of purpose and obsess over the little stuff; but not really when you have a recipe, a fool proof recipe… Being a “Bake Off” fan through and through, I know one thing, that no matter how inviting a show-stopper looks, it all falls down to what’s on the inside. Hint, this article holds more food for thought than baking tips and tricks.
Earlier this month, we had planned a party for our little one. Since one of his first few words was “beep-beep-cars”, I had the theme all in mind. Spread over days, a few hours glued to YouTube tutorials on ” how to bake a car cake”; in fact, a Lightning McQueen Cake! Of course reality check had me reconsider the prospect of my cake cutting skills given that this would have been my second celebration cake to bake, ever, in my entire life. So two cakes later, prep and practice, I hit a quite obvious revelation, it’s all in the taste. You see, to meet those elaborate plans for the 3D car, I had to compromise my favourite tried out recipe for another not too springy solid sponge cake, and worse, buttercream to hold form. If there’s one thing a sweet tooth like me ever finds sickly it’s buttercream! So would a party of four plus one fussy taster forgive this untried venture for a Facebook post picture perfect pastry? I thought not. And so it was, I tuned down the plans to keep it simple, to keep it tasty, and more importantly to keep me sane. A few cookie cutters there, my usual round cake pan and voila, mashaAllah! Don’t take my word for it, ask them , I humbly declare it was delicious.
As we got through with our forks, I had a more profound revelation, seriously this time. I imagined how much time and effort we spend on perfecting our image, our body and foresake our inner self, our soul. Hence, the metaphor explained; we move about life with tried out recipes for success, be it Allah’s SWT divine spiritual guide, Prophetic example, history or previously worked out experiences; yet we sometimes push the recipes aside in fake confidence of cooking up a masterpiece. With no real practice or focus on what matters most, we lose the taste of what’s on the inside in favour of appealing to applause. As a Muslim, there’s an ever reminder of how it is the soul that matters, the purity of intentions to please the Lord of the worlds, not the worldly crowd.
I know it might be ironic to reflect on cake, sometimes nicknamed as a ‘guilty pleasure’; but really it helped me for a moment to put things in perspective. The trick is, like a bake, life is meant to be a recipe walkthrough, though unexpected events might always arise. And like cake, we need to be constantly reminded of our essence within. Of course it wouldn’t hurt to have a gastronomic glam, but it definitely won’t make up for an inedible one. In a world of snarling social media, we are often entrapped in a competition to boast ourselves, that we so much so overshadow our self esteem with the aftermath of “likes” or lack of them. And more crucially we risk our good deeds with a pinch of Reyaa’, a dangerous lurking flavour that has a bitter after taste.
So next time I’m in the Kitch, I guess there’ll be more on my plate than a dessert. It’s a fine balance of priorities that I pray to find and act upon. Hope you enjoyed this extra slice.
P.S.: tune in to the comments for the recipe, for real.