why does clara keep making souffles?
ooc. it’s a very good metaphor for her personality but maybe you can realise why it would be so appealing to her as a character, without the meta.
first of all, it’s a direct connection with her mother. we don’t know much about ellie oswald — apart from what we saw in the rings of akhaten & the brief mention of her “mum’s soufflé” in the name of the doctor — but we can guess that her mother probably liked to bake if the soufflé was personal enough for clara to dub it as her “mum’s soufflé”. the recipe is probably ellie’s own concoction. and clara is canonically very close with her mother. it could be her way of reconnecting with her mum.
and this is my own personal headcanon but the recipe was probably made with two makers in mind and ever since ellie oswald’s passing in 2005, clara’s been trying to make it on her own. and she just can’t be two people at the same time. because it’s kind of easy to make a soufflé. you can’t screw up that many times, and be as attentive to detail as clara oswald is, without it being intentional.
that, in itself, is very telling for clara’s personality because one of her main characteristics is to ask herself (probably) — what would ellie do? ellie wouldn’t run away, ellie would go after that lost little girl, ellie would appeal to skaldak’s better nature, and ellie would jump. if she can, she will try to be her mother. every single time. it takes an ellie and a clara to make an ellie and clara oswald soufflé. this carries on with her echoes ( re: oswin ), as does the failure that results without the presence of ellie oswald.
second of all, cooking — or, specifically, baking — is probably wonderful to a curious but controlling clara oswald. the art entails a lot of precision. it’s a lot of measuring, a lot of patience, a lot of forethought. there are a lot of rules that you need to abide by and it’s a very definite set of “step a results into step b” kind of thing. that would be incredibly appealing for somebody who’s a bit of a bossy, control freak. she has total control over the dish in question with her two little hands. and with those two hands, she could make something amazing if she follows through the recipe.
but the culinary arts also demands a certain curiosity, which favours her just fine. there are flavours to mix and match and though the mold is known and established, it’s always changing and there always new recipes and dishes and flavours to discover and that can be exciting.
food can also appeal to the travel bug in her because foreign cultures are often associated by their dishes. if you close your eyes and just pop in a bite of moroccan couscous or authentically prepared korean barbecue or baklava or bibingka or whatever, it’s almost as if you’re already there. it’s an appealing experience to someone like clara oswald who’s always looking for something new and something awesome but still wanting to relinquish that sense of control.
her need for control can be rooted to her childhood fear of being lost. if you’re in control of a situation and your surroundings, you need not fear for you always know how to get back to safety and back home. those are very important things to her. and remember the story she told merry gejelh: of all the things she remembered from that day at blackpool beach, she remembered the fact that her mum got her fish and chips.
food is comfort, food is home.
Perfect. Just perfect.