I read a little tidbit somewhere and decided to do some research on the subject. Did you know that the definition of a lady is one who brings cake? It is.
According to my Joy Of Cooking, circa 1953,
“The old definition of “lady” is “cake-giver.” “Whether you bake a cake as an attention for a friend, send a box of cookies to a homesick child or hand a pan of gingerbread over a back fence, the gesture is one of fellowship that adds to your stature and enriched your life. Besides, it fun to be a “lady.”
The modern encyclopedia, Wikipedia, suggests that the term “lady” came from Old English and means bread kneader. Which can be construed to mean cake baker.
|Black Forest Gateau|
My parents, grandparents and teachers drilled into my head many dos and don’ts of ladyship… don’t cross your legs when you sit, sit on the front part of a chair so your back doesn’t touch, don’t put on lipstick in public, do send cards to the sick, do remember to make proper introductions. I wasn’t specifically taught to make and share cakes in order to be a lady.. But you know what? My Mother had me baking at the age of 5, sending cookies to my brother in college at the age of 11, at the age of 15 there was a summer of peach pie lessons (which resulted in a marriage proposal), and baking cream puffs for the sickly at the age of 16.
To this day, I’m still baking and still sharing. Cookies to my neighbors, cakes to Eva Mae’s caregivers, cookies sent out to loved ones, and pies to the sickly. I guess I learned that life lesson directly and indirectly. Mom knew what she was doing all along. I’m proud to come from a legacy of “bread kneaders” and I’m proud to call myself a “cake-giver.”