Saturday, 13 August 2016

Reminders

I take The Lady magazine, which is a weekly magazine.   I mainly take it because I enjoy doing The Ladygram, a puzzle not unlike a crossword but more complicated.   But there are always some interesting articles in it too.  One thing they print each week is a recipe from the past and today's recipe brought the memories flooding back, so I thought I would share them with you as a change from the gloom of feeling ill.

The recipe was for Caraway Seed Cake.   I love it; you either love it or hate it I think.   As a child, once a year without fail I had caraway seed cake, and that was during the Sunday School Anniversary week-end.

The Anniversary stretched over Saturday and Sunday, starting straight after lunch on the Saturday, when a piano was loaded on to a horse and dray (later on this was a lorry) and we children sat on benches as the horse wandered round the village.   We sang our Anniversary songs, which we had been learning for months.   Then we returned to the Sunday school room (attached to the chapel) where a tea was laid out waiting for us, and the ladies of the chapel were in attendance to wait on us.

Tea was always the same:   Potted beef sandwiches, caraway seed cake, and small 'fancy' cakes baked by the ladies. One little girl, Norah, was rather plump - for reasons which will become obvious in a minute - and nobody ever wished to sit anywhere near her.   Norah didn't eat sandwiches, she 'didn't like potted beef'and Norah didn't eat caraway seed cake she 'didn't like caraway seed cake' - so the minute the signal came to begin to eat, Norah started on the fancy cakes.   The rest of us, brought up to eat sandwiches and plain cake before the fancy stuff would suffer greatly if we sat anywhere near Norah because by the time we got to the fancy stuff it had all gone!

After tea the room was cleared and we would play games - games which I am sure have died out these days:  spinning the bread board, winking, oats and beans and barley grow, postman's knock - most of these involved kissing its most innocent form.

Sunday was Anniversary Day when we all sat on a big wooden platform and sang the songs again and each of us would have learned a poem to recite:   Wordsworth's Daffodils, Browning's Home  thoughts from abroad - that kind of thing.

The important thing for us girls was that we all had a new frock and a new straw hat - this would then become our best frock for the year.   I still remember many of mine.

Such an important event in the village calendar and all brought back to me by that memory of caraway seed cake!

19 comments:

thousandflower said...

I recently found a stash of The Lady magazines in a local magazine recycling bin. Go figure. I loved them. Caraway seed cake sounds delicious.

Derek Faulkner said...

Oh Pat, a world that was so removed to mine as a child but what a beautiful picture that you paint of a world so long ago and different now. Life was so easy,inexpensive and enjoyable back then.

Sue in Suffolk said...

So many memories brought back for me from the 1960s, I went to a baptist chapel from ages 7 to 16 and Sunday School Anniversary was the highlight of the year. All the ladies wore posh hats and we practised singing using proper music sheets which were fixed together in a special folder. There was always an Anthem - a big longer song with all the grown ups in a proper choir. We would be sitting at the front and have to stand up and turn round to face the congregation which would be people from every baptist chapel for miles around and parents from the village. Then we all had to climb up into the pulpit and recite a recitation ( something religious) that we had learned. Between afternoon and evening service we had tea supplied in a paper bag each. Then we had an hour of dashing round the graveyard before evening service. There was also the presentation of prizes for attendance, always a book with a religious theme or when we got old enough a bible in a slip cover - very posh!

Rachel said...

I am reminded of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson.

Gwil W said...

I'm reminded of the Coronation street party and long tables and lots of jelly and bunting and hard working mums.

Judith said...

Oh my, caraway seed cake! I haven't seen or even heard of it for some sixty-odd years. Now you've opened the memory floodgates for me too! I remember as a child being deeply suspicious of the seeds. I am in the haters camp, I much preferred Madeira cake if it was offered.

Joanne Noragon said...

Wonderful memory. I know caraway seed cake from books and stories only.

jinxxxygirl said...

What a lovely memory Pat... I wonder if many of the games you played i played as a child just under a different name... I can think of 'Red Light Green Light', 'Pickle', ' Mother May I', 'Freeze Tag'........etc.... hmmmm none of those involved kissing though..lol... I don't think i have ever had caraway seed cake....hmmm Hugs! deb

Tom Stephenson said...

I must make some seed cake. It was my favourite as a kid.

Cloudia said...

Do hope you feel wonderfully very soon

Hildred said...

Love your memories, Pat, and they open a floodgate of my own. Different times, different games, but all a wonderful time of growing up. I do hope your health is improving...

angryparsnip said...

Oh Pat I love your stories.
I have always wanted to make a seed cake so I will Google it today.
Do not like hearing you are feeling bad again. Feel better soon.

cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Cro Magnon said...

My mother used to take 'The Lady'. I don't remember actually reading one myself, but they always seemed like such neat and tidy magazines; my mother read every word.

In my Surrey village, our main event of the year was bonfire night; It was a huge occasion.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad I brought back a few memories for you all.

Heather said...

What wonderful memories. It is strange how the simplest thing can take us flying back down the years.

Librarian said...

I have no idea what Caraway seed cake is like, but I loved your description of an important event in the calendar of village life; somehow a much more innocent time altogether.

Elizabeth said...

Totally hate seeds in cake!
My husband longs for poppy seed cake - a Czech favorite.
Loved your memories of the celebration.
Naughty Norah! We always had to plough through the bread and butter,,,,,
You seem to be doing a bit better!
This is good news.

Andie said...

Hope you are feeling better. I can also remember the joy of a new dress. At Whitsuntide we all had new clothes. One year I had a blue poplin dress, trimmed with rick rack edging and even better black patent leather shoes. I was born with a twisted foot and always had to wear lace up leather shoes which were boyish and clumpy. I hated them of course, but this year my mum had bought me these patent leather shoes and I loved them. I can remember running up to where a friend lived to show her my outfit and admire hers, and my feet felt they were on wings. I do not remember wearing them again, although I probably did as money was tight. Then it was back to the clumpy hated shoes. I do not like seed cake, it is definitely marmite like ( love it or hate it). I also was made to eat sandwiches first, then plain cake etc., and jelly with bread and butter (don't ask, but it is hideous). I too would have sat as far away as you all did to Norah!! greedy child. Love your blog. Love Andie xxx

Frugal in Essex said...

Its strange how smells and tastes manage to unlock memories that have been hidden for years.