‘Domestic Goddess’. It sounds good yes? Thank you Nigella – for the aspiration you gave me to become a food loving, cake-baking, voluptous, sensual woman. For encouraging me to find my own, inner goddess – the very essense of my femininity and encouraging me to share it with my friends and family.
Now lets take a reality check – and what have we here?
Harassed Housewife? Oh dear. Can’t manage to lemon-ice forty five cup cakes for your childs birthday party? Didn’t have the right oven dish for that beef and guinness pie and had to stay up half the night scraping encrusted gravy off your oven door? Poor you. Maybe you’re better off just sticking to your ‘career’ and leaving the ‘goddess’ business to those of us who can handle it.
That self-satisfied bitch was me. I’m ashamed to admit it but up until relatively recently I was holding the whole “domestic goddess” thing together. I got about a year out of it. During a twelve month period I baked – and iced - birthday cakes, I ironed napkins, I made potato cakes while weekend guests sat at the kitchen table (arranged with mini-bouquets from my garden) and gazed adoringly at me buttering and spreading their traditional Irish breakfast fare with my very own, and most gob-smakingly impressive of all, apple jelly. Halycion days ladies – gone forever. Because, I have finally snapped and it is the apple jelly that has did it to me.
Brief backtrack. We have an inordinate number of apple trees in our back garden.
Last year we picked them all and I filled the freezer with crumbles and pies. So far, so reasonable Goddess. With the windfall apples and the over ripe that were too “bad” for crumbles, I made jars and jars of jelly. I got my own recipe going, everyone collected jars for me – I was getting texts from neighbouring counties saying “you still want jars?” Everyone loved my apple jelly. I made so much of it that people I know still have a pots of it from last September sitting in the doors of their fridges politely waiting for me to pop around and check if it needs replacing. The zenith of my jam success was when I was invited to supply the local café bookshop, The Big Read, who serve it with their morning scones. I was thrilled that now members of the actual, real-live public were sampling and enjoying the fruits of my labour. That fact alone surely elevated me beyond the realms of mere goddess into that of domestic genius. In the eyes of all, including myself I was just fantastic. How on earth did I have the time to do a job and make apple jelly for the local café? The answer to that question last year was a smile and a shrug. This year it is a howl that shivers through the twelve dozen empty jars sitting in my hallway; “I DON’T KNO-WWWW!”.
Last year – for some random reason apparantly beyond my control or understanding – I had the time and the inclination to boil, strain and pot jelly. This year I don’t have either. What I have is an enormous number of other people’s unwashed glassware cluttering up my hall and six bin-liners full of rotting apples stinking out my office and the constant stress-hum of somebody who while she is writing to a deadline/feeding her child/cleaning her kitchen feels that in fact what she should be doing is making apple jelly to sell through the local farmer’s market. I even upped the ante on myself by making a half-dozen pots of chutney which everyone agreed was wonderful and the Big Read have now ordered and are expecting to serve with their ploughmans. So this is where all this Domestic Goddess s*** has got me. There is no medal, no badge that brands you as one of Nigella’s special-ladies. She won’t be coming around to my house to congratulate me for ‘services to confiture’ or anything like that. All there is is pressure and expectation. Not from anyone else, you understand. Just me. I did this to myself. My husband doesn’t even eat jam. Whether it’s a takeaway or four course meal sweated over by his wife in low-cut evening frock – it’s all the same to him.
All I ever wanted to be in life was a writer and a mother. And having achieved both goals I have raised the posts and have added “Recognised Maker of Magnificent Jam” to the equation. This is the insanity of modern womanhood in action.