A number of people are irritated by this; others smile indulgently, even as they flip doors and drawers shut. The majority fail to see the logic behind my method; they say the hinges and runners get out of kilter. A minority have begun to emulate me.

Each of us has her own ideas about how chores ought, or ought not, to be tackled. Even something as simple as baking a cake is bound to create a heated discussion.

Vine fruits ought to be shaken in flour, so as not to sink to the bottom of the mixture during baking... They must be strewn in as one pours the mixture into the cake tin, as this will ensure a layer of air around them... They must be thoroughly incorporated into the mixture... The all-in-one method works a treat... Fat must be creamed with sugar with the fat first... Decrease the amount of sugar by substituting it with honey... always reduce the number of eggs by one.

Replace one of the eggs by an equal volume of fizzy mineral water... Replace some of the flour by instant mashed potato granules... Never, ever, dare to change the proportion of ingredients.

Butter and flour the cake tin... spritz brown paper with olive oil to line it... only ever use baking parchment. You must make a hollow with a spoon in the centre to avoid having a dome in the baked cake... all you have to do is make two diagonals, at right angles to one another, with a sharp knife, about two inches into the mixture... you must never use metal in the mixture once a cake is ready for the oven – just mark the surface with an outward spiral, using your finger...

Some people have none of that, and opt for the easy solution; a ready-made, lighter-than-air, delicious, inexpensive cake from Sweet Tooth.

It is all too easy to criticize; it is not as easy to help without being dogmatic and supercilious. How wonderful it is to be "open" to suggestions.

Similar, albeit Different

A thousand lives, like doors;
Bolted shut, ajar, or wide open;
Swing doors that don't fasten;
Glass panels; mortised doors.
Barred ones of self-made prisons.

A pathway leads to each.
We can choose to walk along these alone;
Or to ask for help when we falter.

In the course of life we meet those who dither,
Waiting for our shoulder to lean on;
Let's help them limp their way home.

-Tanja Cilia



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