Baking Better – Less Heisenberg, more Battenberg

The Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry is a big fan of Breaking Bad, which stars Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Source: The Telegraph 26 Sep 2013 Photo: Rex Features

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’?

Source:  Image: jaylikesdominos

Source: Image: jaylikesdominos

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:

  • teachers
  • cancer
  • cooking

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:

  1. 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);
  2. I intend to focus on recipes that include cancer-fighting ingredients;
  3. 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:

  1. At the very least, documenting my cooking will give it more purpose (and me something else to focus on other than sitting and brooding);
  2. On a selfish level, sharing my story may help me come to terms with it myself;
  3. Reading my story might possibly make other people go for their smear test on time;
  4. 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!

Go straight to the latest posts here.

Caroline Crimson x

38 thoughts on “Baking Better – Less Heisenberg, more Battenberg

  1. Very impressive. And good puns too. (Perhaps, in the future, good buns as well.) I look forward to reading more about your steps to recovery. This is my first-ever online response, so you have already started off something new for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much – it is my first day of my first blog so it is all new! I’m glad you like it so far. Hmmm… I may attempt something a bit less ambitious first – maybe biscuits!

      Thanks for reading.

      CC x


  2. I heard on the grapevine that it’s national pie week… You could start savoury?? And maybe cheat with some shop bought pastry, seeing as you’re still a beginner and all. Looking forward to seeing the progression! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘I’ve been thinking’…….I always knew you were a good writer. I’m now looking forward to reading about your road to recovery and sometime soon tasting the baking!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the Heisenberg/Batternberg pun 🙂 Really enjoyed reading your blog and will look forward to the next one somewhat hungrily, as I am rather partial to sweet stuff at the moment and I am a terrible baker. Good to see you managed to get a comment on ‘reflection’ in there – I know you are an expert on reflecting reflectively on your reflections 🙂 Please invite me round to eat cake. I am a good guest and never leave crumbs. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • On reflection, I think reflecting on the baking is making reflecting on everything else a little easier… In which case this is a big success regardless! You absolutely must have some cake, especially if you don’t leave crumbs – can’t stand crummy visitors 😉

      Thanks for reading,

      CC x


  5. If only I could reply with a pun as witty as yours! Very inspiring yet you also made me giggle…I think you’ll be able to achieve 04 in no time at all xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Your support is wonderful and much appreciated. I’m just so happy that writing down my story, which is kind of selfish in a therapy sort of way, could be inspiring to others. At least some good will have come of all of this!

      Thanks for reading,

      CC x


  6. Feels like an inappropriate time to LOL, but loved reading this. Really inspirational and a great read. I was shocked to find out this morning, so sending lots and lots and lots of love and positive energy to you xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful blog. Thinking of you and wishing you all the very best of luck for both the getting better and the baking… Not that you will ‘knead’ it (weak). X x x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You don’t knead me to butter you up and tell you how good a cook you are. I’ll jus-roll out another recipe suggestion… I’ve become very partial to baklava on my travels. i hope i still get an invite when back as you know I’m a crimbly eater. Inspirational stuff Crimson x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear CCCC (Creative Clever Caroline Crimson),

    You never cease to amaze me! Your blog is so wonderful and upbeat yet sensitive and informative too.

    If you ever have any surplus goods (which I very much doubt as your baking produce looks and I am sure tastes divine), please send me a text and I will be over in the quickest of flashes!

    Sending you oodles of love. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thanks love! That’s really sweet of you. I’m really pleased that you’ve enjoyed reading the blog, and I would be honoured for you to try some of my produce – I love a commission!

      Big hugs, CC(CC!) xx


  10. Got sent you blog page the other day from Claire C. Well done and nice to see and feel you being so positive, wil be following your blog now, take care x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are so cool! Just wanted to say HI (and hi to the other half) and let you know I’ve been following your blog. It’s very witty, you’ve got a way with words!! Best wishes
    Nathan Baker (radiotherapy, the skinny guy)


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