I was 11 and for the first time ever, I was going to cook something! It was apple crumble in Domestic Science class a few weeks into my first term at the high school. My mum got the ingredients ready and off I went to school with a message from my mum ringing in my ears, ‘looking forward to our ‘afters’ tonight’.
Everything was okay. I prepared everything and popped the dish of apple crumble into an oven. And (I thought) set the correct temperature. To this day, I don’t know how it happened, but after half an hour, smoke belched out of the oven. To my dismay, when I opened the oven, my apple crumble was burnt black!
I just cried, thinking of the humiliation to come when taking home the burnt offerings. Mrs Freeman, our teacher, took me aside and said ‘don’t cry, Jean. I will make you another one. And you’ll put the crumble in the oven and take it out when it is ready–so in real terms, you will cook it.’
All went well. I produced a magnificent crumble, which I proudly took home and we ate it for ‘afters’ that evening. I never admitted my failure as a cook.
I have never forgotten Mrs Freeman’s kindness and we got on very well for the following five years. I miraculously got a Domestic Science ‘O’ level.