Thursday Interview: Red Velvet Cake

Pomegranate red velvet cake

I must say you look delicious, Red Velvet Cake, it’s a pleasure to have you with me. First of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Certainly. My full name, actually, is Pomegranate Red Velvet Cake. I come from Lili’s Cakes, and I’m delighted to have been chosen to represent her site. There was an awful lot of competition.

And what did the selection process involve?

A beauty pageant, basically. I’m not much into them myself – I’m more than just pretty icing. But obviously, looks are important, so we had to parade on the sideboard and look sweet. After a while, it was whittled down to me and Jamaican Ginger Cupcake. She’s so beautiful, I thought I didn’t stand a chance.

So what clinched it for you?

I think the jury was dazzled by the pomegranate seeds. As I said, it’s a bit annoying to be judged on appearances alone, but that’s how it is. They do ask us a few questions, but we don’t get a chance to show them how much we know. You’d be surprised how cultured many cakes are. We absorb so much. Like sponges.

You’ve been described as the Lady Gaga of cakes. What do you think of that?

Well, it’s the other way round, isn’t it? She’s the Red Velvet Cake of singers, or tries to be. Lili says I have “a delightful colour that isn’t too garish, a beautifully satisfying spongy texture and a wonderful combination of tastes with a balance between sweet and salty.” I’ll leave you to reach your own conclusion.

And what can you say about Lili herself?

Oh, she’s a goddess. And I’m not just buttering her up. But to create such delights out of a few basic ingredients – that’s my definition of divinity.

Don’t you get depressed, though? I mean, you were only made to be eaten. You don’t last more than a few days. If you were in my house, I doubt it would even be that.

Well, it’s longer than a milkshake. No sooner shaken than drunk, poor things. Besides, what counts isn’t me, I’m just the outward result. My true identity’s in the recipe. Once you’ve got that, you can have your cake and eat it – you’ve got the DNA to make clones.

That’s wonderful. Our thanks go to Lili for providing it, and of course to you, Red Velvet Cake, for coming along to talk to us. There are many other delicious cakes on Lili’s site, but I must say you take the biscuit.

Oh, I don’t know what to say. You can’t really see because I’m red already, but you’re making me blush. Crumbs!

 

Le salouva vous va bien

salouva

Mayotte is 95% Muslim, but there’s one thing to be said for women’s fashion here – it’s far from drab. Though some of the younger women wear the standard western jeans and tee-shirt, most still go for the salouva, the traditional, brightly coloured costume which may or may not be worn with a headscarf, or kishali. This gives rise to a certain confusion in schools, where under French law, ‘ostentatious religious symbols’ are forbidden. These include the Muslim headscarf, which in its dull, dark, austere version is banned, but worn as a bright, colourful kishali is tolerated. The reasoning seems to be that colours = moderate, dull = extreme. There may well be an element of truth in that – the minority of extremists who every so often feel they have to kill other people don’t seem to think that life is much to be enjoyed. Given the choice, I certainly prefer a religion that glows. But as making colours a criterion in the statute book might prove tricky, the confusion is likely to continue.

In the meantime, Mayotte celebrated its tradition recently with a salouva competition.

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Contestants await to parade in their salouva

If you feel like scrolling through the 160 photos, you can vote here for your favourite:

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