The Theme Game week 7: Cake!

chocolate cakeThe word ‘cake’ sparks happy feelings in me – I have always had a sweet tooth and swooned at the sight of anything and everything from a lemon drizzle to a coffee walnut. Of course there used to be a time when I could eat anything and never put on any weight – back in my 20s – as I was blessed with a high metabolism. Not so much the case these days!

For me though, the ultimate cake was my Nana’s chocolate cake.

My maternal grandparents came to live with us when I was seven years old as my parents felt they had the space and were concerned for their safety after they had experienced several burglaries in their little flat in south London. My mum was keen to go back to work full time and with my grandma home she was able to do so. Consequently my Nana fulfilled a slightly different role to other peoples – it wasn’t common to live in an extended family those days and I guess it still isn’t. She fell somewhere between being a mother and a grandmother and got the worst end of the stick in some ways as she had to live through my teenage years and all the grumps that came with them. I’m not sure if my sister would agree but, if I’m being honest, I think that my relationship with both Nana and our granddad (who we called Bobba – a throwback to not being able to pronounce the name Bob as toddlers – strange but true!) might have been much closer due to our living situation if they had been different kinds of people.

They were quite reserved and I get the feeling they had also been quite strict parents. Bobba died when I was about 16 or 17 so I really didn’t get to know him as a person. But my relationship with my Nana was complicated. She had been a strict Catholic as a young woman and my Mum was duly sent off to a Catholic convent for her schooling and nearly caused my poor Nana a heart attack when she chose to marry my Dad – an atheist! I think the fact that my sister and I were brought up without any sort of religion never sat well with her.

We shared a birthday and this was a time when I felt our bond most strongly though. Despite cooking us our dinners most of the time she was never the greatest cook when it came to savoury dinners – more of a meat and two veg person, no real sauces or frills. However, it was puddings that she excelled at – delicious treacle tarts, sponge puddings, frangipanes and fruit cake. She knew that chocolate cake was my favourite and if she ever wanted to do something to make me happy then the baking was on! Equally she knew that my cousin’s favourite was the frangipanes and there was a scrabble to produce a batch when we knew a visit was imminent!

Yes it could definitely be said that my Nana expressed her love through cake and I think that if anyone made me a cake unexpectedly at this point in my life (which seems unlikely, it has to be said!) I would be very happily reminded of all the lovliest things about my Nana and my relationship with her.

Linking up with The Reading Residence for Theme Game week 7 and also the All About You Link and Pin Party over at Mama and More, Mother Wife Me, and City Girl at Heart.

The Reading Residence
#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

21 thoughts on “The Theme Game week 7: Cake!

  1. I think there are probably many people who find emotions difficult to express for many reasons and food becomes an avenue for that in plenty of forms. I can bake you a virtual chocolate cake if that helps 🙂 A really interesting post, thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame

  2. Very Chinese to go mad with the cooking because you can’t express love any other way… I’m struck sometimes when I meet people who have either Catholic or Jewish heritage who have strong similarities with us Chinese.

    I thought your post expressed really well the complexities of how we feel about our families, and the way their pasts impact upon us, but also put across the warm positive feelings.

  3. A really nice post about cake and your grandparents. It is actually great that your grandmother makes you think of cake… there are worse things people could associate with their grandparents. Thinking of my own grandparents makes me think of hard work in vines, rice pudding and apple tart… x Mel #TheThemeGame

    • She really was! I gave a small speech at her funeral about all the things that I loved about her and that made me laugh or smile when I thought about her. I don’t think I think or remember enough these days. She died ten years ago…

  4. Stunning post and one which reminded me of my Gran baking marble cake with me. It really cemented our bond, cooking and baking together and I inherited her cake tins when she died. Loved this #allaboutyou

    • Weirdly I don’t really remember doing much cooking with her – she was a bit of a control freak! I guess I’ve inherited that from her a bit because I am always shy away from cooking with my kids for fear of mess and general kitchen destruction! Mind you Ej is only 18 months so maybe I will be braver when they are both of an age…

  5. My gran never baked for us (she wasn’t fond of us) but my Mum always brings a fruit cake when she comes to visit or makes me a trifle and if I go to visit a friend who’s down I always take cake- it’s such a nice way to show that you’re thinking about them.

    • I hadn’t really thought about it before funnily enough but yes you’re right, you can put a lot of love and effort into baking something special for someone and its a much nicer offering than flowers or chocolates or something generic like that. X

  6. I’ve always thought that the sharing of food is where real love and care comes through, and this goes across so many cultures and generations, whether its preparing or consuming it together! I love that you have literally such a sweet memory if your Nana and thank you so much for sharing this with #AllAboutYou

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