“Wha … oh yeah. Do you want them for work?”
He’s spied my lamingtons.
I search for transportation but suddenly. we’re completely out of carrier bags. In the only bag we have left, a clear, plastic leftover from our weekends’ croissants, they look appalling. I dangle the bag before him. To get his attention.
“They don’t look so good. They look like this …”
He’s right. And it’s not fair to the lamingtons.
Lamingtons are delicious squares of Aussie delicacy, as delicate as we get. Squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and smothered with coconut flakes. They are peculiarly Australian in the sense that that is where they were invented and no other country has shown any interest in them.
Yet they are a staple of every school canteen Downunder. My sister gave me a recipe once – ages ago – but I have no memory of it. So like much of our sustenance, meals, call food what you will, today’s recipes come from optimism, automatic pilot or Google.
In this case, as I can’t bake to save my life, I refer to Google. Then I take a metaphorical step to the left and buy a packet of “Complete Sponge Mix’ from the supermarket for 22 p. All you need is an oven. Also an egg. And some water. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
With Lamingtons, the only flavour and interest is on the outside so no-one should care. A tribes-person is solely interested in is the chocolate and the coconut. They look pretty too. Quaint. They’d suit a doily like nobody’s business. Any old plate will do.
But swaying inside thin plastic they’re not quaint. They look horrible! Like the worst bagged commodity imaginable. I can hardly bare to say what they look like … if you imagine the worst, with a little doggie in it, going “walkies” … It’s a picture I’d rather forget and the one I present my husband with. We both get a fright.
“How about ….” I suggest, thinking hard … Pete is still gagging … “how about we put this bag in another bag for their journey to your work tomorrow? A paper bag. We’ve got some of those.”
“Yes, please” he said.
Later, just before closing my eyes, I had another idea. I’m not giving those to Pete’s office! These ones are quite nice … and made a mental dream-note to let Pete know first thing tomorrow morning only to take as many as he and a few of his work pals would like for morning tea.
My thinking had been skewed because the last batch was dispatched straight to his office. They were hard on the outside, chewy on the inside and with raw cake mix in the middle. Not lamington. Not really cake. Brownie? But no-one in Pete’s workplace is Australian so I was sure they would be fine.
As “Lamington biscuits” the whole office enjoyed them. Most people have a sweet tooth. Terrific dunked in tea, I believe.
“Good morning!’ Then as quickly as I can, blurt “I don’t want you to take all those lamingtons in to work! I like them! How about if you just take some for you and a few others?”
It’s fine with him.
“Maybe Robert would like one?” I ask.
“Ah, Robert …”
“Oh yeah …”
Robert is so healthy, he mostly eats only raw vegetables for lunch. In Scotland. He’s Hungarian so it kind of doesn’t make sense. He eats sardines or baked beans for breakfast, he told us. But I think he cycles it all off because he’s not very chunky. He could be chunkier.
He’s so healthy. He only eats carrot cake, without the cake, I say.
Here Robert, we’ve grated it for you, says Pete
and there’s a candle…
The cake-less carrot.
Last night, I had one of those rescued Lamingtons. Today, they went straight to the office. There’s probably only crumbs left now. I hope some of them are around Robert’s mouth.