Now I no there are not any direct health benefits from eating cake. And that sugar is now seen as a great evil that will one day be as frowned upon as smoking. But I need to speak out in the defence of this great creation once and for all. How can something that fills the heart and sole with so much pleasure be truly bad for you?
I am not advocating that we indulge daily in this most cherished pleasure but see it in its place as it should surely always have been. Cakes, cookies, biscuits and pastries are not for daily consumption. There I’ve said it. They are a treat and should be seen as such. These are the ingredients of celebration. They are the dishes that make a meal into an occasion. Mark time spend with friends and family as a more memorable event. They are not something to be furtively crammed into your mouth whilst hovering in the hall, nervous that you may be caught indulging in an almost ‘illegal’ habit. Come out into the open with your indulgences and revel in them. Don’t put them to shame by associating them with our guilty behavior (make them guilty by association). There is nothing wrong in enjoying the delicate texture of lemon drizzle cake or the heady promise of spicy carrot cake with it’s luscious cream cheese top. Let us place these treats in context and allow ourselves to participate, guilt free, in the ravishing of the desert table.
I, for one, am going to reinstate afternoon tea as a weekly pleasure. I will invite friends and family over to enjoy a table laid with treats. This will be an unhurried affair. There will be no desperate race to stuff the last of the cake in our mouths fearful that we do not know when the next will come our way (a hangover from growing up youngest of three perhaps). This will be a generous spread and will involve at least three of the following; a large cake or gateau, scones, eclairs, biscuits, cookies, pastries and slices. There will be nothing furtive about this experience but will rather allow all and sundry to take lascivious pleasure in the very act of indulging.
My feeling is that by making this particular afternoon a celebration of all things sweet it will lessen our desire to by those crappy biscuits and cheap chocolates that we always seem to eat on the move or hovering over the biscuit tin. Whilst on our way somewhere or on the tube, reading a magazine. Easily falling into the trap of thinking that if we are not paying attention to what we are eating, or not sitting down to do so then it does not really count. Oh contraire! Your waist line will notice each and every one of those insubstantial and unsatisfactory ‘treats’.
So let us take time to savour each mouthful on this dedicated day and see what effect it has on us. For perhaps the moment we stop denying ourselves this indugence we will find that we don’t yearn for it in that same illicit way making it the master of our every waking moment. Just maybe the moment we let it out into the open we will discover that we are far more moderate than we realized and that when sat round the table eating our afternoon tea we really couldn’t manage a third slice of cake after all!