A Rational man
He considered himself a rational sort of a man, but sometimes he had trouble with recipes, recipes, he decided, tend to be written for women. Take this Stollen cake that he was attempting for Christmas for example. The early stages had been simple, the selection and method of mixing specified quantities of specific ingredients followed by a specified period at a fixed heat to cause the mixture to fuse into a new chemical compound, a delicious one he hoped. He could appreciate that cooking appliances, though constant, were not precision instruments, and that there would always be variation in the organic chemicals that constituted ingredients.
But then he had come to the final instructions;
“Brush generously with melted butter whilst still warm”
So indefinite, what constitutes warm? What constitutes generous? He could have quibbled about whether it ws the butter or the cake that should be ‘Still warm’, but that both should be warm seemed rational. A cake leaving the oven must be hot, how would he decide when it was warm? Even then he felt that it was possible he should leave it longer, the use of the word “still” implied that it was not newly warm; or was it an imperative, ‘Come on man, hurry up, while it’s still warm’. A woman would know, she would have heard it from her mother, absorbed the tone of voice which defined the meaning.
It was the same with the next phrase
“Leave ‘til cold and wrap well”
What in? His jumper? No, that was simply facetious, he could work out that it was already cold and did not need keeping warm, the purpose of wrapping must be to retain the humidity, but that still left a choice of materials to use, greaseproof, aluminium foil, cling film? Did any of them have any particular advantages? If not why would it not serve to store it in an appropriately sized tin? He hated creating man made waste in the kitchen. He really must get a woman to help run his life, but that was a whole different can of worms.
Goes and lives.