Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A catwalk of cakes
It has been a very quiet year so far. Most weeks, a couple of people contact me to order some Tupperware, but I have not been asked to do a party for ages. Then all of a sudden, two come at once. I could say it never rains but it pours, but it is a glorious weekend, a bleak London sun glinting on my fine kitchenware.
First of all, I take the Northern Line to Highgate to meet Sylvia and her friends. Sylvia and her most enthusiastic guests hail from Germany originally, and it really does seem to be true that German folk adore their Tupperware. Anya doesn't even have a house to put it in at the moment, but she stocks up for her new kitchen, ready to equip it later in the summer when she moves in.
Sylvia is having a bit of a kaffee und kuchen afternoon, and has fashioned a sort of catwalk for her ravishing cakes, using cans of tomatoes and some MDF. It is a lot more elegant than it sounds. A rhubarb cake, a marble cake, and a cake jewelled with fat plums all strike a pose, surrounded by key pieces of Tupperware. Sylvia herself gets well into the retro swing by sporting a fabulous 70's red floral maxi-dress from her mum's collection. Tall, and with long dark hair, Sylvia in her period frock reminds me of the very poised and chic German women who used to fascinate me on our family package holidays to the Franco-era Costa Brava in the early 70s.
I love the way the friendly guests don't take themselves (or me) too seriously, but take their Tupperware buying very seriously indeed. I am dispatched at the end of the party with a sheaf of orders in one hand, and an Oyster full of cakes in the other [right].
I run stalls at fetes now and again, when I feel like it. Over the years I have been rained on, shat on by birds, and made to hide my Tupperchef knife for fear of arrest. But it's nearly always a fun day, and generally I get a couple of parties out of every fete. This Sunday I have agreed to run a stall just a few hundred yards from my house, at Trinity Church Square in the Borough area of London. It is the Open Gardens Square weekend, during which well-tended little private squares all over London are opened up for the day to pleasure seekers and nosey parkers. There are often special one-off events taking place in the squares, like today's fete, which has a few stalls, some kids making 99s, a jazz band and a beer tent. I man my stall from 11 till 6, and it's a leisurely day. I am more interested in putting the word out about parties than in actually shifting any products, but for once I do sell quite a bit. My neighbour in the square is the Chickenbus stall, where Eleanor and her husband sell fair trade crafts and decorative items from Latin America. We while away the afternoon planning ways of building our little businesses.
Maureen from Johannesburg is already there as I arrive to set up my stall. She has previously stumbled across my blog, and is thrilled that Central London's only Tupperware consultant is her neighbour. Maureen and her husband are in London for a year, staying in a company flat over by Tower Bridge. I gather their kitchen storage leaves quite a lot to be desired, and I am happy to help Maureen upgrade.
Some very enthusiastic browsers get quite beside themselves at the sight of so much Tupperware in one place, and I am hoping to be running some local parties before too long.
Journalist Zoe Williams reviews a book in The Guardian this week called The Kitchen Revolution which is all about making the most of seasonal produce, cooking ahead and leftovers. She comments that
We have quite a bit of this left over (even though I've halved the measurements to cater for two), and for about the sixth time in the week, which makes it the sixth time in my entire life, I find myself thinking how much I'd like some quality Tupperware.
Needless to say, a catalogue is on its way to Zoe via The Guardian.