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  • Ann Werner

Hot butter-milk sponge

Ann Werner

I don’t think that I was ever taught to bake, but I can remember sitting on the kitchen counter, legs swinging happily while licking something delicious off a spatula while my mother pottered around in a happy domestic whirl. She was particularly good at hot buttermilk sponges - oozing with strawberry jam and topped with fresh whipped cream. The worn and batter-splattered pages of her cookery book are testament to this popular choice and when I turn to these pages I am warmed by a repeating history – I see her hands in mine. The wisdom is in the mixing! The trick is to fold the batter together gently. Gently curving the spatula around the buttery-smelling and cream-coloured mixture; folding in the flour and blending an easy mix of butter-milk with the floury softness. Noting the vanilla aromas developing from the mix, this patient and caring motion continues until a luscious, smooth and softly textured batter emerges. Patience and care. The batter and the artist co-creating something sumptuous. Listening and weaving in; the artist holding the tools for a gentle integration while the disparate parts merge towards a cohesive whole.

Stubborn elements ‘sticking to the sides’ as it were, necessitating another round, and perhaps another yet again, and again; a compassionate encouragement to come together. It’s a process. It’s a slow and care-full forward movement. It’s a joint mastery, it’s a developing whole, it’s churned up and reformed into fragrant smelling potential…. It’s something …. It’s someone to become… It’s my work and I love it.

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