Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Of bread and cakes

A flashback the other day, prompted by the cakey smell of icing sugar. On the Uxbridge Road in West Ealing, across the road from Woolworth's, there was a cake shop. In the window were wedding cakes and birthday cakes, demonstrating the shop's artistry. The smell inside was characteristic; sweet, marzipan, icing sugar, shortening. Battenberg cakes, Bakewell tarts, custard pies small and large in tin foil, cakes with hundreds and thousands on top, cakes with little metal ballbearings on top... Very, very rarely, I'd go in with my mother to buy a cake here.

More often, we'd go across the road, past British Home Stores, towards Hanwell, to T. Parker's Bakery. Here the smell was of fresh bread, rolls and buns. My mother would buy both bread that was typically English - white sliced, granary, and continental - croissants with poppy-seed, challa, baguettes. Parker's has closed down on the Uxbridge Road, but the shop on Northfields Avenue is still in business (it opened in 1913).

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