My mother loved making cakes. It was one of the points where our difficult relationship was easiest. She made things I loved to eat. Cauliflower cheese. Egg and chips. Bread and butter pudding. But above all she made cakes. The strawberry cake in the picture is one of the last things she made. I now own the cake stand, the recipe and the old Venetian table cloth in the picture. Only occasionally is my sponge cake equal to hers but it’s always edible and there is something inescapably cheering about the magic you can create from flour, eggs, butter and sugar.
Generally our first encounter with Mother is our first encounter with food and frankly I think it is a wonder that we are as well balanced as we are. New mothers, I remember well, are caught between the fear of failure, anxiety that the child will starve and their own physical exhaustion. Fortunately children survive but feelings about food are not necessarily straightforward. Emerging, as we do, from the maelstrom of those early helpless years, things may have gotten a bit entangled. We may not remember much about our first year or so but our bodies remember. Our nervous systems remember.
If things go wrong early on eating can become a power game and we lose touch with our own needs. My clients often ask, so now what? Now that I understand what’s going on, now that I realise what an impact the past has, how do I change it? My answer is, do nothing. Noticing things, bringing awareness to difficult areas, these things alone will allow change to happen. A natural unravelling is always waiting in the wings.
Are you in some kind of battle refusing to eat what you need? I have news for you. Mother is no longer holding the spoon. You are free to eat what you want. Really! So let’s celebrate with a cake recipe.
125 g/4 ozs Stork margerine (or another kind but Stork makes a great yellow cake)
125g/4 ozs self raising flour
125g/4 ozs sugar
0.5 tsp baking powder
your favourite jam
- Heat your oven to 180 degrees C
- Grease 2 x 18xm/7″ cake tins
- Cream together the margarine and sugar with a fork or in your mixer
- Add the eggs and beat well
- Add the flour and the baking powder and fold gently with a metal spoon
- Pour equally into the two tins and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes
- Cool a little and then release from the tins
- Sandwich together with jam or jam and cream OR serve as a pudding with strawberries and cream
You can adapt this sponge to any recipe. Add cocoa and chocolate icing for a chocolate cake. Sandwich with lemon curd. Add pink icing and candles for a birthday cake. You get the idea.