The summer before last was when I picked up a hand-out recipe for beetroot pancakes. They were being spun as a healthy fun thing to make for your kids to be the perfect ‘yummy mummy’. To me they seemed strange, and a little too flesh-like to be considered wholesome ‘fun’. Once I’d begun exploring baking/cooking through the eyes of the maternal, I experimented with how much this simple act of making pancakes could be maternal.
I watched the pancakes cook through the lens of my camera. With fat spitting aggressively at us, I was fascinated with the chemistry, and dare-I-say-it, the biology, of what was happening before me. The bulging, the forming, the bubbling, the colours changing, its different states…There were gloopy unformed foetuses, cracking sore nipples, the angry red of a skin burn or a bloody knee fresh and ready to scab. It reminded me of old versions of fairy tales where you feel the potential for the wholesome sweet nurturing morals that we prefer today but in reality it is all about blood, destruction and learning lessons through death. My little pancakes had no happy ending as I sat there eating them all up.
Especially with the colour changes and the hissing sounds, it was often fairly gruesome to watch but the smell was delicious with the slight hint of beetroot that I’d grated in. At the end of the experiment, I layered the pancakes on top of one another, folding them over so they fanned slightly. My gloopy lumpy pink pancake batter was now looking more like slices of ham or bacon, curly and crispy at the edges, with gentle burn marks from where I pressed on the spatula to hear it hiss.
Hoorah, I thought! I have successfully created some weird form of flesh in my kitchen using flour and fat as I had semi set out to do. And yet I am far more inspired by it now than I was at the time. Taking a step back and letting something mature in your mind really is invaluable. It so appears to me now that as I post more work and write down thoughts, I should probably do some video.