Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ahead of Her Time....Part 2

There are so many facets to my mother that I want to share that it has been hard to choose where to I'll start with the easiest.


The fact that I don't remember many birthday cakes from the parties I attended in the 80's apart from my own, speaks for itself I guess.  I remember party food that was different to anything I had ever eaten before, but the cakes have not imprinted themselves on my memory.  I remember ice cream cakes and basic round decorated cakes.

These were Mums first attempts at cake making for my brother in the 70's

I'm not sure why my mother was different to other ladies, other mothers, in regards to birthday cakes.

I think that surely she was not the only woman in Derby to purchase Womans Day & Womans Weekly magazines which contained recipes for baking, cooking & entertaining. Maybe this loops back to fact that other mothers were working and mine was a full time housewife.....

With all the decorated cakes we see on Pinterest, Facebook, blogs etc these days you may think "What's the big deal?'

Where my mother was ahead of her time was how she planned the cake and created it into being.

For starters we didn't have the internet. Ideas for cakes came from books, magazines, comics or the baking aisle in our local Elders supermarket.  I cant even credit tv shows with feeding my mother ideas because we had good old ABC and ONLY ABC until 1986. That gave us the options of an Inspector Gadget Cake, Danger Mouse, Mr Squiggle I guess...? or Astro Boy, but Mum would have had to have been able to get her hands on an image, which back then was not an option.

There also was not the HUGE selection of Australian Womens Weekly cook books and kids party cake books that are available in almost every supermarket and newsagents today.

She never made a cake exactly as she saw it in a magazine. Mum added her own little changes and touches, not just for the heck of it but she saw ways to make the construction and decorating of the cake easier to meet her skill level and also going on available ingredients.

Also most time Mum had a test run with the cake, either part of it, or all of it to make sure it would work. She would ice the test cake and serve it up for afternoon tea after school and we'd start to get excited....a birthday was coming.....  But seriously who has the time to make a test cake? Certainly not me...but my Mum did. Because if she was going to do it, she was going to do it right, or as good as she could get it.

When Mum used an image, for example my Barbie cake (the image came from a page in my Barbie club newsletter), she used tracing paper to trace from the original picture, then drew a graph over the traced image. From there she painstakingly & meticulously redrew the image on larger graph paper until it was the size she needed for the cake. These days we would just photocopy and enlarge, like seriously....

Mum started off only ever using butter cream icing and she loved using lollies on cakes, although as she attempted more sophisticated cakes, once again the Barbie cake, she made and coloured her own water icing. Strangely enough she always used packet cake mixes (still does) as I think she saw it as 'modern' as well as easier to keep boxed cake mix handy than all the separate ingredients; keeping in mind we often had weevils and such up North so it was easier to keep two cake packets safe than all the ingredients separately.

I don't even have all of the pictures available to share with you but there was annually a Santa cake or Christmas Tree cake made for the SEC Christmas Party, a love heart cake for my birthday, before we had shaped tins, a cabbage patch kid cake which consisted of drawing the head of the cabbage patch kid still in the cabbage patch.....

She really was a woman ahead of her time....and like people ahead of their time she was under appreciated by everyone. Everyone except her children.

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