Chocolate CakeIn this nasty and endless election year, I have turned to The Great British Baking Show for a dose of spirit-reviving civility.

Until this year, I never realized how much civility matters. I have always tried to be polite, but I have discovered to be civil from the heart is a whole other pastry.

In the Baking Show, the contestants are winning and charming, and the judges are kind and caring. No one yells. Enemies cheer for each other and hug each other. The winner celebrates with family, friends, and other contestants at a tea party (and not the American kind).

Perhaps it’s the accent.

In British speak, “Think you’ve missed the boat with this one. It tastes terrible.” comes out sounding like, “Sorry, old chap, but let’s pick up that spatula and give it another go, shall we?”

If you listen over the clatter of mixing bowls and oven doors, you hear that sometimes the words don’t matter as much as their source.

Do words come from hatred or do they come from love?

“Put her in jail.”

“Enough is enough.”

“She’s a liar.”

“I’m fired up and ready to go.”

“I don’t like losers.”

“When they go low, we go high.”

If we listen, we can easily hear where words come from: fear, confidence, anger, contentment, frustration, strength, hatred, love.

Words can lie, but their source cannot. Choose the gateau over the gutter.


Words fly, as well as pies, in my novel Book of Mercy. Check it out.