Eating The Cake


Cake and its richness deserve recognition among the ancient treasures and technologies that have passed through the centuries on to us today. Cake is poor man’s gold; to be appreciated for the fullness that it brings to one’s stomach. It becomes quite obvious when one overindulges with frequency, by an expansion of the waistline, although there are also many other foods and causes that obesity can be attributed to. Cake, like many other foods, is not what it used to be. And those changes may have contributed to the obesity epidemic, that did not always exist, but that persists today.

The word cake derives from the Norse word “kaka” and originally referred to a food that more closely resembled a bread. Although recipes varied among ancient cultures and times, ingredients such as butter, eggs, and honey brought a sweetness and consistency that helped to distinguish cake from bread. It was during the Great depression that mass production of cake in a box first began, in an effort to take advantage of a surplus of molasses to feed many who were economically struggling. How did cake transition from a food to satisfy the basic need of hunger, to one that is recognized as a food that can lead to obesity?

Although sugar was available in ancient times, honey was more commonly used in baking until the 18th century, when sugarcane plantations in the West Indies and the Americas made sugar available to common people, and it became a convenient alternative to honey. Refining has simplified sugar into a form that can result in many diseases, including diabetes and obesity. Artificial sweeteners and modified fats, having also been engineered outside of nature’s context, may result in danger to human wellness as well. The further we get from the past, the more diluted and modified our food sources have become. Although debated, refining, genetic modification, and pesticide use may very likely be taking a significant toll on our health. That, in combination with our more sedentary lifestyles, is leading to an unfortunate demise of our well-being. Cake, which was once a food eaten to ensure health, can now be viewed upon as a food that will decrease the quality of life.

With the time saved by the convenience of ready made ingredients and foods, we all have more time to devote to working, and less need to be home with our families preparing for basic needs. If this is the benefit, we may need to reconsider the value of modern technologies. Being at home and loved by family has its own health benefits.

Returning foods to their natural states, and the process of growing, harvesting, and making food may be just what we need to provide our bodies with both healthy, natural ingredients and the physical activity required to keep our bodies in motion. In many ways, technology has resulted in the decline of health, well being, and basic appreciation of the world and all that it provides. Although sold as the future and a way to simplify our lives, technology has resulted in few gaining wealth, with the majority being dependent upon the few and needing to work increased hours to have the financial ability to meet the demands of the few, for the services that they provide. Our distance from natural processes has left us and our children dependent on corporations with vested financial interests in satisfying our basic needs.

With our dependence on others and the fragility of our technology, such as the internet which can be taken down by the choice of our leaders or forced down by failure of satellites, it is reasonable to assume that homesteading will lead to healthier, more independent children than our current school system. Our children should be able to appreciate cake for its richness, and nature for its contributions, without fear of diabetes. Perhaps our future is in the past.

Article by Beth Marie


De Vlaming Confectionary

World Health Organization

Artwork is an Original Creation of Beth Marie

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