A Word On Food: Birthday Cakes

It is the beginning of a New Year. The hopes we have for 2021 might be as wishful we’ve had for any year in our lives. I think it has been nearly universally acknowledged that last year was the toughest. And we are not out of the woods yet. But even though the concept of time is a kind of agreement and despite our amazing globe having circled the sun after 365 days in space no curtain is closed, door shut, or stopping. We ride on. For better or for worse. This is the marriage we are all in. We all have our individual birth days but January 1st is our collective one so I say, “Let’s eat our Birthday Cake”. 

The simple joy a child has is a marvelous and healing thing to observe. Despite the screaming entrance into the world every tiny tot wails out when the womb becomes a home of the past. The mood shifts fully a scant few years later when they are capable of understanding, …. a birthday cake is presented and happiness spreads across the land. Even if the land is only your kitchen table. 

I read in an article online from Reader’s Digest that, “The ancient Egyptians are credited with “inventing” the celebration of birthdays. They believed when pharaohs were crowned, they became gods, so their coronation day was a pretty big deal. That was their “birth” as a god. Ancient Greeks borrowed the tradition but rightfully realized that a dessert would make the celebration all the more meaningful. So they baked moon-shaped cakes to offer up to Artemis, goddess of the moon, as a tribute. They decorated them with lit candles to make the cakes shine like the moon. Hence, the reason we light our birthday cakes on fire.”


Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken 

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