Baking that money just can’t buy

I make cakes.  Bloody good cakes, I’ve been told.

Cardamom cake for Midsummer

Bloody Good Cake

In fact, people pay money for my cakes, and have told me on several occasions that I should start a proper business, because lots of other people would pay money for them too.  I have been quite resistant to this idea, because cooking is something I do for love, and I felt distinctly uncomfortable about monetising my hospitality.  OK, I’m happy to accept payment for outside/on site catering, but when friends want to pay me for baking them something, it always feels a bit wrong. But I did it, because it seemed to be what people wanted.  And I asked around, and as people generally agreed that me starting a cake business was a Good Idea, I thought I would. But I’ve been thinking about this (always dangerous), and here’s the thing: being the fickle cow that I am, I’m not going to.

To me food is something prepared with love, shared with people – friends, strangers – for love.  It is a gift.  And it’s going to stay that way.

If you want to buy a cake from a cake shop, you go in, you choose your cake, you pay your money, you have your cake. And eat it, too, I assume.  You don’t need to ask the baker’s name, you don’t need to chat to them to prove you’re a nice person not a child-snatcher, you don’t need to ask ‘Have you got time to make my cake?’, “Could I have this cake but shaped like a tiger?”, “Can I have ten cakes every week for a year?”, in fact, you don’t even have to say anything at all. If you’ve got the money, you buy the cake. If you haven’t, you don’t.  Shops are so easy. And I am not a shop.

If I was a shop, I'd be this one. Mmmm

If I was a shop though, I’d be this one. Mmmm

So here’s the deal: if you want a cake from me – for a birthday, a special friend, just because you like cake – you ask me. If I can, if I have time, I will make your cake (or brownies, or flapjacks, or whatever).  You can pay me for the ingredients, so I’m not out of pocket, but I will not accept any money for my cooking. It’s a gift.

And that’s hard, isn’t it?  That’s negotiating all the messy, human interaction that goes with receiving a gift; and not just receiving, but asking to receive.  What if I say no? What if I’m too busy? What if I don’t like you? Just teasing, I like most people, but yes, I have bills to pay like everyone else, so if I have too much other stuff to do, I may say no.  But is that so scary? You will have to decide if you’re taking the piss or not (ten cakes every week for a year is taking the piss, by the way; I’ll give you that tip for starters).

Orange and pecan - Happy Birthday to me!

Orange and pecan – Happy Birthday to me!

Please, owe me by all means. Make me something, give me some babysitting, do something for me, or for someone else – it’s up to you. Yes you. *You* will set the price, even if that price is nothing at all.

I cook because I love cooking, and I share it because I love people. My food is, always, a gift. It is a gift that heals, and welcomes, and I will not cheapen it by charging money for it.

cakemess

*****

[This post has been inspired by Mark Boyle, the ‘Moneyless Man’; and Kirsty Bromley, admirer and sharer of my cakes]

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About Disobedient Child

Digger, through and through. Also tagged as artist, crafter, voluntary worker, procrastinator View all posts by Disobedient Child

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