When did we stop getting excited to have cake for breakfast?


There has been a time in all of our young lives when we resolved that when we became adults, and could thus do what we want, we would eat cake (or whatever your favorite treat is) for breakfast. And there was not a darn thing anyone could do about it! Take that mom & dad (parent or guardian)!

It has occured to me, being a woman on the cusp of forty, that not many people enjoy, or get excited about getting to have cake for breakfast anymore. One of those things that in our childhoods made adulthood so appealing, like staying up as late as we want. Yet, as we continue through our adult lives we forget to be excited about having cake for breakfast – a sin our younger selves would not easily forgive.

So, why is it we have forgotten about the important freedom of having cake for breakfast? 

First a bit of history: 

The word cake itself is said to be of Viking origins. Coming from the Norse word “kaka.” The ancient Greeks called it plakous which was derived from the word “plakoeis” meaning flat. In ancient Rome, breads were sometimes made with honey and butter, making it sweet. Cake has been around for a very long time and has played a part in history and our lives as social beings.

 Cake has its great place in history.  Let us remember Marie Antoinette who when (around 1789) found that her French subjects had no bread to eat is attributed with saying “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.” In fact, it is said by historians that Marie Antoinette spent large amounts of money of lavish cakes. Ahhh the important history of cake!

Cake also plays a great role in our social interactions. Cake is so often used in our rituals and ceremonies of celebration. We eat cake on birthdays to celebrate that we have made it another year through life. We eat cake to celebrate graduations from kindergarten to PhD’s. When a couple decides to register their relationship and get married we celebrate with cake. In fact, almost every celebration in life is a call for cake. Got a new job? Cake. Retiring? Cake.

We have our cake on special celebrations, but not exclusively. Sometimes it is just nice to have a slice for dessert on an ordinary day. 

In spite of all this, our young lives were plagued with the idea that there is a time and place to enjoy cake, and breakfast was not one of them. To our despair if there was cake left over from a celebration, and we requested it for breakfast, we would be met with a disapproving “not for breakfast.” That hope we had for the treat for breakfast was dashed by the all powerful adult. I mean, why wouldn’t they want cake for breakfast too?

Many of you, like me, after reaching adulthood indulged in cake for breakfast once or twice after gaining the freedom of young adulthood.  But, somewhere along the way we have forgotten the importance of this freedom. Maybe it was when we became “responsible,” and decided real grown ups do not have cake for breakfast.

I get it, adulthood is hard. The word “adulting” has emerged into the English language as describing grown up responsibilities. Activities such as going to work, paying bills, grocery shopping, and paying taxes all qualify as “adulting” activities. We get wrapped up in the stress of being an adult person. Especially now, with all the problems and challenges in society, we often feel it is even more imperative that we try to make the world a better place.  This often means even more adulting is required, and fewer and fewer blatant opportunities to celebrate present themselves. In fact there are many days we may feel beaten, as if the crushing world of adulthood has won. 

However, this gives us even more reason to indulge in cake for breakfast from time to time. To be clear, I am certainly not advocating for daily cake or even weekly cake. That would be much too unhealthy, we must take care of ourselves! And admittedly, the cake I make now is different from the cake I had in childhood, because my cake now is low fat, dairy free, usually with hemp or chia seeds for added nutrition.  What I am advocating is firstly, appreciating the freedom we possess as adults to have cake for breakfast any morning we choose and secondly, that occasionally we exercise that freedom. 

Cake is a celebration! And our lives are worth celebrating! Even if the sometimes mundane activities in our lives become overbearing. The freedom to and the action of having a slice of cake for breakfast can lighten that weight. It can remind us of those things that made adulthood so appealing, and not only can we be reminded, but with a clever smile and frosting upon our lips we can indulge in one of adulthoods great treats and have cake for breakfast. Take that mom & dad!

I guess what I am really saying is “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake!”

Published by shanarchist

I am a Philosopher, writer, mindfulness & meditation teacher, & artist.

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