The other day, in my potsage [sic] about a man of the cloth, I made reference to a dough cormorant. Since then I have been inundated with letters from readers asking how they might go about making one. I am happy to report that the fashioning of a dough cormorant is child’s play – with two provisos. First, you need to ensure your dough is of the correct consistency, and second, you must have a basic understanding of bird anatomy, with particular reference to the cormorant.
Regarding the dough, you will need the physical strength to knead it, thoroughly, to achieve the right consistency. If you are too weedy to knead, you may have to consider employing a professional dough-kneader, and they don’t come cheap, at least in my experience. Recently, in connection with a different project, one not involving cormorants, I needed a supply of dough of very precise heft, and I was simply not up to the task. At the time, I was convalescing from an injury sustained in an accident when, funnily enough, a deranged cormorant was let loose in the confines of a baker’s pantry in which I happened to be present. Upon my release from hospital, and bent on my dough-related project, I had no option but to hire the services of a professional kneader, and it cost me an arm and a leg. Not literally of course. I doubt that a kneader exacting such a price would attract much custom, although I am willing to entertain the idea that in certain circumstances a person could become so dough-desperate that they would pay it.
The consistency of your dough will be as nought, however, if you are bird-ignorant. Let me put it as plainly as I can. You will need to know what a cormorant looks like. The cormorant is a type of bird, and birds are those things you see flying overhead, silhouetted against the sky. But it is well worth bearing in mind that not everything you see flying overhead is necessarily a bird. If it is enormous, and metallic, and has jet engines, it is almost certainly an aeroplane. Conversely, if it is tiny, so tiny that it is barely visible, it is likely to be a midge or a gnat. There are all sorts of other things that appear flying or hovering or being buffetted which are not birds, such as bees and wasps and hornets and wind-borne plastic carrier bags and heat-seeking missiles, to name but five.
Several types of bird, including the cormorant, are mentioned in the Bible. The theologian Loptap has argued, convincingly, that almost all birds are Roman Catholic, although one or two espouse Lutheranism, and chaffinches are notoriously godless. Personally, I have grave doubts about the partridge, but as a general rule let Loptap be your guide.
You can work out the differences between the cormorant and that well nigh limitless class of things-which-are-not-a-cormorant by studying diagrams and drawings in books such as The Bumper Book Of Diagrams And Drawings Of Cormorants.
When you are reasonably sure that you know what a cormorant looks like, simply take your lump of dough and mould it into the appropriate shape. Hey presto! You have a dough cotmorant.
To satisfy yourself that your dough cormorant is of an acceptable standard, and will not be mistaken for a dough model of another bird, or worse, of that-which-is-not-a-cormorant, it is a good idea to compare it with photographs in books such as The Bumper Book Of Photographs Of Dough Cormorants.
In nomine patris et filii spiritus sancti.