It is the second parent coffee morning of the year on Friday and so last night, after Joshua was in bed I made some caramel shortbread ready for the event, so that it was not all last minute and I have a coffee cake baking in the oven now as I write. I was delighted to receive a message yesterday that one of the Mums who comes most months, will be making and bringing a lemon drizzle cake along to share. We never know how many parents will attend, but I have a fear of having more people than cake so I tend to over-cater and then give it away within school, work or even my hairdresser afterwards.
Due to the risk of allergies and the unknown ingredients of home-baking, the school Governing Body agreed that homemade cakes should not be allowed any more in class,for the pupils. So Joshua will be having a his first shop-bought birthday cake in school for his 18th next week. I understand the reasons why this policy has been introduced and of course, I would not want to hurt anyone through my baking, but it still upset me and I examined why that was:
I bake to make people happy, it usually brings a smile to faces. I also use my baking to show people that I care: if someone is low, poorly or having a bad time, I will often turn up with surprise shortbread or chocolate brownies to try to cheer them up or to simply brighten their day. I use baking to thank people who have been kind to Joshua , such as the staff at respite, who usually find a tin of treats tucked into his overnight bag. I bake as bribery too – for orthotics and school nurses, to make sure that they are kind to , or particularly remember, my son.
So being told that I could not bake for children , who might not be able to judge what they should or should not be eating, for the good of their health, took away one of my ‘caring tools’ and so it did not feel good, even though my head knew it was sensible. The reality is probably that Joshua’s peers in sixth form, like cake , and they probably do not actually care if I made it at 5am in my kitchen at home, or if I bought it from the local supermarket, they will enjoy the sweet treat just the same.
But the new ruling does not apply to staff or parents, who it is assumed, have the capacity to ask what is in a recipe and can decide for themselves whether or not they should eat it. So I was encouraged to continue to bake for the coffee mornings and for Governor meetings, so it is not a blanket ban on home-baking and so I will continue to do so, while Joshua still attends this school. I have already started to make noises amongst the coffee morning attendees, that they need to start recruiting a new baker,so that somebody else can take over my role next year. They have plenty of notice but so far there are no volunteers!