Monday, 22 June 2015
The Proof of the Pudding - Inspiration Behind the Story
I've realised that it has been a while since I wrote an inspiration behind the story post. This isn't because there wasn't anything interesting to write about my recent published stories - just that with all the lovely guests I've welcomed onto Wendy's Writing Now recently, I haven't had much time.
Anyway, I thought I'd tell you the inspiration behind this week's People's Friend Story, Proof of the Pudding, because it links in with a post I wrote last October. It was called, So What if I Can't Bake and you can read it here. In a nutshell, I had gone to my local restaurant, The Sussex Produce Company, to have a meal and listen to a talk given by Mary Berry. I was desperately excited as I absolutely love The Great British Bake Off, even though it is common knowledge amongst my friends that I cannot bake.
At the start of the evening, we were given a copy of Mary Berry's new recipe book, Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect Step by Step (as part of the package) and then we queued to have it signed. Not surprisingly, the queue was quite long and I had plenty of time to think of something witty or intelligent to say to her once I reached the table. (I have a habit of blurting out rather silly things when nervous). When it was my turn, I stepped up and held out the book. Mary sat there, a picture of elegance, and smiled... and all I could think of to say was, "Hello."
It was a wonderful evening but I had little time to think about it as I had invited a group of girlfriends round for dinner a few days later as my husband was away. I can get into a bit of a fluster when it comes to cooking for large numbers... what would I cook? How much should I buy? Would they noticed if it all came from M&S? It was then that my gaze fell on my newly acquired Mary Berry recipe book. If each course came from her book and it all went wrong, Mary would be to blame, not me - wouldn't she? It seemed like a plan.
I am happy to say that, against all odds, the dinner party was a great success and Mary's Caramelised red onion and rocket tartlets were a triumph. I think my friends were surprised that I had pulled it off but I have a sneaky suspicion that Mary wouldn't have been.
The whole thing had the makings of a great story, so the next day I sat down and wrote it. It starts off with Deborah wondering what witty, intelligent thing she can say to television chef, Nancy Cresswell at her book signing... I think you can guess what she blurted out!
The story is modelled on my ability to get flustered when cooking for a dinner party (the reason why I don't have them!) but the rest of the story is fictional. When Proof of the Pudding was published last week, I was astonished at David Young's illustration. He modelled it on his own kitchen... but it looks exactly like mine!