Friday’s High Flipper Five: Cake
It’s nearly time to get your frying pans out, for next Tuesday is Pancake Day hoorah! Book Walrus suspects that for the vast majority of the population of the UK this day is just an excuse to gorge themselves on batter-y goodness, but Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent (thank you Wikipedia). Shrove Tuesday is the last day to use up the foods that aren’t allowed in Lent (such as butter and eggs), so this Friday’s high flipper five is our last chance until Easter to celebrate…
Top 5 Cakes (and other tasty treats) in Children’s Literature
1. Bruce Bogtrotter and the Cake, from Matilda by Roald Dahl
The cook disappeared. Almost at once she was back again staggering under the weight of an enormous round chocolate cake on a china platter. The cake was fully eighteen inches in diameter and it was covered with dark-brown chocolate icing
Suddenly the Trunchbull exploded. “Eat!” she shouted, banging her thigh with the riding-crop. “If I tell you to eat, you will eat! You wanted cake! You stole cake! And now you’ve got cake! What’s more, you’re going to eat it! You do not leave this platform and nobody leaves this hall until you have eaten the entire cake that is sitting there in front of you! Do I make myself clear, Bogtrotter? Do you get my meaning?”
Bruce Bogtrotter’s cake sounds amazing, and is a moment of triumph for the children as Bruce defeats Miss Trunchbull by eating the entire thing. Come on Brucie, you can do it!
2. Chocolate Frogs, from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
“What are these?” Harry asked Ron, holding up a pack of Chocolate Frogs. “They’re not really frogs, are they?” He was starting to feel that nothing would surprise him.
“No,” said Ron. “But see what the card is. I’m missing Agrippa.”
“Oh, of course, you wouldn’t know — Chocolate Frogs have cards, inside them, you know, to collect — famous witches and wizards. I’ve got about five hundred, but I haven’t got Agrippa or Ptolemy.”
Harry unwrapped his Chocolate Frog and picked up the card. It showed a man’s face. He wore half- moon glasses, had a long, crooked nose, and flowing silver hair, beard, and mustache. Underneath the picture was the name Albus Dumbledore.
“So this is Dumbledore!” said Harry.
The chocolate frog episode is Harry’s first experience with Dumbledore, they heal the sick on many occasions, they’re frogs, they’re chocolate, and the come with collectible cards. Can’t get much better than that really.
3. Chocolate cake, from Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen
you know how the icing on top
is all shiny and it cracks as you
bite into it,
and there’s that other kind of icing in
and it sticks to your hands and you
can lick your fingers
and lick your lips
oh it’s lovely.
Mmmmmmmmmmafdsf sorry, Book Walrus just dribbled on the keyboard. It’s not surprising that once little Michael Rosen starts picking at the crumbs in the middle of the night he can’t help but finish off the lot.
4. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
`Take some more tea,’ the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
`I’ve had nothing yet,’ Alice replied in an offended tone, `so I can’t take more.’
`You mean you can’t take less,’ said the Hatter: `it’s very easy to take more than nothing.’
`Nobody asked your opinion,’ said Alice.
Admittedly not a huge amount actually gets eaten at this tea party, except for a bit of bread and butter, but Book Walrus does have a soft spot for grumpy Alice, and she could be said to represent the mood of those who don’t eat enough cake.
5. Miss Havisham’s wedding cake, in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The most prominent object was a table with a long tablecloth spread on it, as if a feast had been in preparation when the house and the clocks stopped all together. An epergne or centre-piece of some kind was in the middle of this cloth; it was so heavily overhung with cobwebs that its form was quite indistinguishable; and, as I looked along the yellow expanse out of which I remember its seeming to grow, like a black fungus, I saw speckle-legged spiders with blotchy bodies run home to it, and running out from it, as if some circumstance of the greatest public importance had just transpired in the spider community.
And now something to put you off cake for a very long time – Miss Havisham’s rotting wedding cake, complete with spiders and fungus. Yes a challenge for the littler walruses, but if the whole novel is a bit intimidating, what about Usborne’s abridged version? If giving up cake is proving a struggle, just think of this one, probably the worst cake in all of literature, and it should make things a bit easier.
Enjoy your pancakes next week, and for those of you giving up something yummy good luck, and enjoy your cake while you can. Book Walrus is looking for an 18 inch diameter cake tin, anyone got one he could borrow?