It’s been seventy seconds. I’m back in the kitchen, now filled with nursery fumes of cinnamon and nutmeg. The air behind the window is heavy with raindrops and thick with fog. It’s sheer comfort food I’m after.
Hesitant, I pull the tiny handle. My supermarket-bought dessert has erupted much like a volcano: the filling dripping across the side of the brown plastic pot, scorched bits of it on the microwavable plate. Is that it?
Part self-loathing, part eager, I dig layer by layer into the thick, raw, margarine-loaded floury mess concealing the gluey, mushy interior. The bottom inch of my crumble is sodden with apple juice. It tastes of cardboard and childhood trauma.
It would’ve been so easy – just rubbing some flour, butter and sugar together, tipping it on top of a diced apple and tossing it into a warm oven. What would follow is plain kitchen magic: the bottom gets caramelised and melts into a delicious mess and the top crisps up with buttery warmth.
The juices bubble up through the rough, uneven pebbles of crunchy, buttery crust, staining it deep caramel gold. A home should always smell of a crumble in the oven.
But for the time being, the plastic one is all I’m getting.
Never before have I tasted apple crumble so stodgily dense, so tooth-achingly sweet, so cloyingly gluey. Still it doesn’t fail to make me feel like a five year old at granny’s kitchen table. Utter bliss.
Illustration by Weronika Kuc