Are you a baker? Or a shaker?
We went to see the hilarious Dylan Moran of Black Books fame last night. He posed an interesting question: Are you a baker or a shaker? Namely, do you bottle things up that annoy you (a 'baker') or do you react to anything and everything (a 'shaker'). He generalised that most Britons were bakers; revolution in England, he claimed, would take thousands of years. The first few hundred years would be marked by putting your coffee cup hard on your desk and would culminated with an angry outburst of "You know, he really gets on my wick!" Italians and Arabs, for example, are shakers says Moran. Passionate, expressive, unpredictable and hyperactive people. I found this very funny. Being raised by an English rose of a mother and an Arab camel of a father, what mixture am I?
When you consider our traditional foods, you can see where he's coming from. Comparing, say, Britain's classic toad in the hole with a Moroccan tagine is quite a contrast. Both great in their own way but two ends of the spectrum flavour-wise. Cosy, comforting-if-a-little-bland stodge on one hand and fragrant, spicy juicyness on the other.
Foodwise, I love to bake in the literal sense. I'm not sure why as I'm not a huge fan of sticking to recipes or measuring things out accurately (prefering the more slap-dash, bung-it-in-and-see-what-happens approach), both things that are required of baking as, at the end of the day, the successful rising of a cake seems to come down to chemistry. I do love sweet things though and I think that this is the key to my love affair with the oven.
In terms of flavour, I'd like to be a shaker. I like to try new combinations of spices and am pretty confident when it comes to adding them to meals though I often come back to similar flavours. I love how cocktails (shaken, not stirred naturally!) taste but I'm not such a fan of their effects. Maybe it's a taste thing... Or maybe I'm just boring!