Thursday, 12 November 2009

We are the people they've been looking for...

Imagine if you will that you are happily working away in your kitchen, say, baking some bread. Not unusually you have your radio on. Lets presume you're a smug, middle class, university educated so-and-so, so you have radio four on.

While you are kneading your dough, a programme comes on about the crisis in bread. The state bakeries are turning out bread that can, to be fair, be excellent in both taste and nutritional content on occassion, but much of the time is bland and full of empty calories. In many cases, it turns out to be actively carcinogenic.

In fact, despite what the government say, many independent experts say that it's as good for you, on balance, as eating cardboard. The official bread making process is laborious, inflexible at the bakery level and subject to interference on the slightest whim of the Minister for Bread, Scones and Baked Goods.

The minister is not allowing state bakeries to use the international bread test, as it doesn't mandate "Traditional medium slicing".

While you are warming your oven and letting your dough prove, many experts come on the radio, debating what should go into the official governmental standard bread making process, whether adding additional mandatory stages helped, whether it's the fault of the standard tin, whether it would be improved by making poppy seeds compulsory, and, of course, blaming the bakers (who have to follow the official process), the inspectors (who have to enforce the official process) or, ultimately, the farmers for producing such terrible, terrible wheat these days.

By the time they have finished that section, your bread has risen nicely and is ready to be baked. The pundits are moving on, saying, well, they are trying their best, British bread is the best in the world and, according to their figures, better than it has ever been. One of them says sagely "Baking bread is HARD. If it was easy, we would have cracked it by now".

Maybe today you've made a cottage loaf, or a tiger loaf, a baguette, a fruit loaf, soda bread, bara brith... but there it is, hot, and delicious. And you know, maybe today it didn't rise right, or turn a little crustier than you hoped, but it's only a days baking, you can have another go tomorrow, and at least you know exactly what went into it.

And that's exactly how I felt about education when I saw that trailer.

1 comment: