Monday, April 16, 2012

Cake Secrets

Sorry folks, I went quiet on my blog for a little while and am making up for it with a passion at the moment... you might feel I've inundated with you posts and I just hope that what I've said hasn't gotten lost amongst the the flurry of posts.

I think this will be my last review on specific books/documents from the package I received, but no guarantees once I've gone through the last books more thoroughly!

Anyway, getting on to this next book/document:

"Cake Secrets", by Igleheart Brothers (1925)

This booklet was published by Igleheart Brothers, who manufactured cake-making products (flour, bran and even cooking utensils).  The booklet is filled with many different types of cakes and with each recipe is a "complete description of what they are" by Janet McKenzie Hill, who is the Editor for American Cookery Magazine, plus variations of the cake and hints to make the cakes successfully.

My Thoughts:
It wasn't so much anything that was written in the booklet that got me thinking, but just the overall concept of the book.  Yes, there were a few different cakes and within them, numerous variations, but they were fairly simple and uncomplicated.  How they were decorated was appealing, yet simple.

Flash forward to the times we are living in now.  With so many recipe books out there, and cake decorating books, it can be quite overwhelming.  I grew up with the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book cakes and even before I was pregnant with my daughter, I had bought the book to ensure my recipe book collection was complete.

I love cake decorating.  I may not be any good at it (I'm certainly no perfectionist when it comes to anything creative!) but I enjoy it.  I love the challenge of replicating what's in the picture.  However, there's certainly a pressure on us today to have a theme cake, or something heavily decorated.  I'm not saying that it's wrong to decorate, but when I had the "Cake Secrets" booklet in my hands my immediate thought was that we've even managed to over complicate the humble birthday cake.

Big Spring and I were chatting after I received the package and running through with him all the thoughts I've now expressed here on my blog.  He certainly made an interesting point.  He said that back in the days of our grandmothers, food would have been used for nutritional purposes.  Now-a-days, it's used for entertainment.

Wow! I loved that thought!  I think it's so true!  Instead of simple meals with simple ingredients, it's all about complicated (sometimes) recipes, unheard of ingredients and a day in the kitchen preparing it all to make sure it's just right.  When guests arrive, instead of just focusing on conversation and fellowship, over a simple meal, its about fussing in the kitchen to serve up a lavish meal, worrying if it's turned out okay and what are the guests going to think about it - will you impress them?

Then it's time for the showdown... bringing out the food (possibly multiple times, depending on how many courses you have) and having your guests gush over how 'great it all looks' and 'how much effort you must have gone to' and 'wow, this tastes fantastic - what's in it/is it?'

If we could get back to the basics of it all, perhaps the focus might actually be on having those conversations and entertaining our guests ourselves, instead of letting our food do it for us?

I'm not saying that a lavish meal is wrong and they we shouldn't do it, but we shouldn't let entertaining guests/opening our house be something that we stress about for the week before.  Hey, don't worry... I'm guilty of this, just in case you thought I thought I had it all right and was telling you all how it should be done!  This post is as much about me needing to change my attitude, as much as it's meant to get you thinking as well!

All that thinking from a humble "Cake Secrets" booklet published in 1925!

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