Comfort Food

There’s something very comforting about watching people bake, even if it is in a staged competitive situation like The Great British Bake-Off. Now, in a pop-up tribute blog called the Great British Bard-Off, some very good poets are writing their own poems in response to the works of art that are the lightest naan bread and the perfect pie. The blog is curated by Amy Key and Charlotte Runcie, and includes poems by AF Harrold, Roddy Lumsden, Porky the Poet (aka Phil Jupitus) Sophie Meyer, Adam Horovitz…

I’m very pleased that one of my poems is there.


In my mother’s kitchen there were no scales,
all weighing was done by tablespoon;
for flour and sugar, a perfect ounce
heaped as much above as there is below.

With baking-soda, eggs and marge
we’d make sultana scones, jam tarts,
sandwich cakes,
not fancy, nothing requiring
the Be-Ro Book; all from memory.

Plain cooking, fit for a plainer life,
a recipe of expect the worst
in a stir of gossips, con-artists

and nosy-parkers, no-one you can trust.

She baked as she lived, liked only what she knew,
shunned the unfamiliar. I wish her life
had been ruled by the mantra of the mixing bowl;
as much above as there is below.