I very much doubt that Mary Berry wants another cake baked for her… ever again! As judge on The Great British Bake Off for 7 seasons, Mary delicately nommed her way through 700,000 bits of cake and cannot physically fit in another slice without running the risk of exploding like a pigeon.
However, I have been thinking about Mary Berry a great deal this weekend and wanted to add her to this ever-expanding list of people I rather like.
In an age of disposable celebrity, to have someone like Mary Berry is something rather special. Since her first book was published in 1970, Mary has written some 75 titles… 75! Though she was well-known in the countless homes that have treasured her books for generations – my own Nana taught me to bake using one of Mary’s books, thus spawning my entire career from a single page – the television role that made her a household name came in her seventies.
Though she is far from engaging with it, her visibility in her advanced years, her capability, her expertise, her strength, and her presence are wonderfully feminist. Sorry, I know that Mary thinks this f-word is dirtier than fuck but I’m feeling a little naughty today. You don’t have to acknowledge it to be a feminist icon. This is one of the hardest working women that I have had the pleasure to meet. She’s probably second only to the Queen, who I’ve yet to meet – and probably won’t now I’ve said fuck on my blog. Bollocks.
Despite denying the need for feminism because of her enjoyment in having the door opened for her, Mary is a feminist because I dare say that if she was paid 81p for every £1 that Paul Hollywood was paid, she would not be happy. Whilst Mary has no need to concern herself with Paul’s wages any more, this is the reality of the gender pay gap in the UK and it is not on. We all like having the door held, whether by a man or a woman, and I will always hold the door for my friends regardless of how I am remunerated.
As Mary moves deftly into icon-status, her name has been immortalised by possibly the most exciting new band that I have seen in years; they are called Idles, they are from Bristol, and they are on their way to great things; mainly because they name-check chefs in their songs. They also have a song called Rachel Khoo!
Kicking off their Brutalism tour last night, a packed Bedford Esquires saw out the weekend with punk rock. The room buzzed with the energy of an audience who knew that they would have to be sensible functioning members of society a few short hours later. We left with ringing ears and happy hearts. Punk is alive and still packs quite a punch, despite now being in its 40s. Idles carry the torch flaming into a new generation with notes on depression, social media, dating, cancer, and the immortal line, “Mary Berry love reggae, ” which apparently she does.
As we kick off the week, I hope that you will ask yourself ‘what would Mary Berry do?’ Don’t accept less than you are worth, ever, and never stop rocking out.