I was in Paris recently—they are very good at pleasure. I was walking by a bakery—a boulangerie, which is fun to go into and to say, even—and I went in, a childish desire to get a cake—”Give me one of those chocolate guys,” I said—and I was talking to someone on the street, took a bite… I had to tell them to go away! This thing! I wanted to book a room with it! “Where are you from, what kind of music are you into? Come on!” – Dylan Moran
I haven’t had one in a while. Months, probably. I’ve had other sugary stuff, but I’ve been denied cakes for far too long. People look up pictures of film stars, pornography, cat memes etc. on the internet. I look at cakes. Half the temptation is in the viewing, but the other half – the eating – is even better. Foodgasm exists in this case, quite literally, because it has the ability to elevate you to an operatic soprano. The ecstasy is complete with the petite mort, i.e. post-coital ‘little death’, as the feeling of supreme bliss dies to be replaced with the memory of it. A memory that, like all other pleasures, results in bloating, belching, fat and regret.
Ah, but I’ve been good, you see? I’ve only been taking chocolate and sweets medicinally. I take one or two squares of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk most days, and let it rest between my tongue and the roof of my mouth as I do other things. I endeavour to make pleasure a distraction, because I feel too guilty feeling it fully. And not just that, I’ve started to become more wearied by it. If orthopaedic shoes and loose clothing were not enough, I’ve started to eat blander food, like these cracker biscuits made of the boring variety of cereals. I can hear Marie Antoinette directly talking from monarchical hell, “Mademoiselle Amrita, you must eat cake! It is imperative in human life. It is misery baked in technicolour!”
Right. If I am to be miserable, why not be happy while doing it? The problem is, each time I am at a bakery, I feel as though it was my last day, and I must go on a rampage and eat as much as I can. I like saltier, savoury stuff too, but they hardly are a vision in comparison, are they? Carrots may photograph well, but they look even better as carrot cakes. Cakes are the only food item that look as good as they taste. And smell.
And touch. No wonder you gasm over it. I feel too scared to touch it, lest I render any of its baked proportions askew. And then, after the viewing and smelling pleasure is over, I pounce on it like a hungry lion on gladiators. Except, these gladiators are not only more compliant, they also make you run about less. Bakeries are calming places. I don’t care much for your Starbucks type of establishment. Naked profiteering can hardly allow time for you and the cake of your desire to satisfactorily be together. You see, the sixth sense operates as well, but you need to give it time. Eating cake is a sensual experience, and though you may be guided by your intuition towards the right one, you still have to give it some thought. The chemistry extends beyond the molecules that make you, and the molecules that make it.
Which is why I don’t understand how one of the most famous TV programmes can be about a competition around it. Cakes are to be taken in slowly, peacefully, a la Nigella Lawson. Not violently, where your dough is pitted against ten others, and you have to wait till after the commercial break to see if the lemon tarts were tarty enough. That’s why I stay away from baking. Apart from the obvious problem of consuming everything I make or refusing to part with it in case other people are interested, I don’t want to torture myself with what goes on behind the scenes. It looks nice on a blog or when Nigella’s doing it, but the dream would be shattered if I were attempting it. My humble pie would be humbled further, and I would take no pride in it.
You might ask why I’m denying myself when this is how I feel about the situation. Well, I calculated that a week of unfettered cake-eating resulted in two months of calorie-burning. I can handle others, but cake tends to stick around, now inaccessible – pleasure or otherwise. It’s too irritating to have clothes in two dress sizes, pre and post cake-bingeing. Until I can work out a system, like chocolates and other sweets, I am staying. That being said, I am going to be near an interesting bakery on Sunday…
Do you like cake? What’s your favourite?