It started with a cake…
Well not really. It started with a hospital appointment on 12th January 2015, when I took the afternoon off from my job as a primary school teacher to be told suddenly, and unexpectedly, that I very probably had cervical cancer. But I’ll come back to that another time.
First and foremost, I would like to introduce you to my blog: why the title, why the name, and most of all, why the blog at all.
Why ‘Baking Better’?
Good question. After attempting to do some baking as an alternative to endless Downton Abbey whilst recovering from surgery, I was suddenly struck by the similarities between my own story and Walter White from Breaking Bad.
Ways we are similar:
Ways we are different:
- high school science vs. primary
- Stage 3A inoperable lung cancer vs. stage 1B operable cervical cancer
- crystal meth vs. cakes/bread/smoothies
Uncanny, right?! So after considering options such as ‘Breaking Bread’ and ‘Baking Bad’, I thought that whilst being a more tenuous pun, ‘Baking Better’ was more to the point. Where ‘Breaking Bad’ follows Walter’s cancer-driven downward spiral from science teacher to murderous, meth-cooking criminal; ‘Baking Better’ will document my recovery and journey to a ‘new normal’. Hence ‘better’ seemed more appropriate – getting better health-wise, and maybe even better at baking as a happy side effect.
Why ‘Caroline Crimson’?
No, it’s not my real name – so how did I decide on it? Not, as it happens, because it sounds like some sort of Cluedo character (“it was Miss Crimson in the library with the candlestick!”), or even perhaps a burlesque dancer (or worse).
I thought that given my spookily close connections to Walter White, perhaps I too could have some sort of alliterative, colour-related pseudonym. The initials created also had significance for me (CC = Cervical Cancer).
So it only remained to Google ‘colours beginning with c’ and pick one: cyan, cerise, cornflower, chartreuse, cream, charcoal… Crimson just seemed to have the nicest ring to it.
Why write a blog at all?
Hmmm… how to answer honestly without being really boring and/or cheesy. I will go into the background in more detail in another post, but as I have mentioned, I turned to baking fairly early in my recovery in an attempt to feel useful/productive in a very contained way. Also, amassing a hoard of baked goods would encourage (force) me into asking friends and family to come over regularly and eat them – a very positive driver at a time when seeing other people sometimes seemed too much to face.
Here is what I intend ‘Baking Better’ to do:
- It will be a place to share my successes and failures (cooking lessons learnt – as a teacher I know how important it is to be very reflective at all times);
- I intend to focus on recipes that include cancer-fighting ingredients;
- As and when I can, I will write my own story: about what is happening to me; what has happened up to now; and the future as it unfolds.
And here is what I hope writing a blog will achieve:
- At the very least, documenting my cooking will give it more purpose (and me something else to focus on other than sitting and brooding);
- On a selfish level, sharing my story may help me come to terms with it myself;
- Reading my story might possibly make other people go for their smear test on time;
- Reading my story might help other people going through the same thing (as reading others’ stories has been helping me).
Well…. only time will tell!
Caroline Crimson x