How to Marie Kondo your sweet side
I'm a dietitian - and I love cake! It sparks joy in my life. And, if it also sparks joy in yours, then there's no reason you shouldn't have some as well.
Food is food. Cake included. But, as the result of the recent war on sugar, there has been an overabundance of cake shaming. I am far too often approached by clients to talk about the "bad" foods (like cake) in our lives, using negative language to describe foods that are less healthy.
Sure. Cake is not the healthiest of food choices. But cake is not in and of itself the problem. It's about portion distortion. It's about a lack of moderation. And it's about people's relationship with food. These are the things that truly need to be addressed.
When enjoyed in moderation, cake can fit easily into most healthy lifestyles. Contact me here to discuss further how you can have your cake and eat it too while trying to adopt a healthier relationship with food in general.
And, importantly, cake is not just dessert: It's a celebration of life, commitments, joy, and special occasions. This is why I've decided to highlight the awesomeness of cake. It is, after all, my birthday month, and I do love a nice slice of cake.
...Not an entire cake, just a slice ?
a cakewalk through time
It's difficult to determine exactly when bread became cake for the first time - especially as, for many years, there wasn't a distinction made between the two. But we do know cake has been in existence for centuries, used in ancient beliefs and rituals, and made as offerings to the gods and spirits.
In the beginning, cakes were made less sweet and leavened with yeast or eggs. Much like bread. In fact, some of the earlier 'cakes' were flat and dense (not nearly as dessert-delicious as the soft and fluffy cakes we have today). Adding yeast and eggs allows for the lightening of dough by adding air - though both were/are time-consuming and require great skill to get just right.
Then: In walks bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Using these two ingredients allowed for a consistently airy, structured cake that is much easier for all of us to make. This, in turn, allowed cakes to become more diverse, creative, and more-or-less foolproof even for novice bakers to put together.
These two ingredients also led to the advent of commercial baking.
In the early 1930's, P. Duff and Sons took home baking to a new level when they out with a cake mix requiring only one added ingredient: eggs! It wasn't a hit until World War II, however, when housewives around the United States were going back to work, spending less time in the kitchen. Betty Crocker was taking over America's home kitchens. It was a simple, and delicious solution to a great change in the country. But food, and cake, was also quickly evolving into something, perhaps, a bit more concerning: As we've grown into convenience as a society, we've risked lowering the value in the traditions we once placed on foods. Including cakes.
But, as is often the case, there are still two sides to this coin (cake): While we might have lowered the quality of foods with increased packaging and commercial ease, we've also increased their accessibility, allowing people to connect to their traditions and making celebrations of life a more simple affair.
As it should be.
It's only when we go beyond these simple joys, indulging even when we have nothing to celebrate, and then indulging again and again to the point where our celebrations blend together with the our daily meals and we forget the importance of balance, that this becomes a problem.
Again: Cake is not the issue. No more blaming cake. It's only our short memories that are to blame.
Again: If you want to have a slice, you should. Go ahead! Just remember to be respectful of your body and cognizant of when enough is enough.
Now, on to the good stuff. Looking to spark joy with a few cakes this weekend? Try these amazing cakes, Marie Kondo style: My half-birthday cake (carrot, parsnip cake), a sweet and spicy honey cake, and tart, sweet raspberry rhubarb galette.
Whether it's a birthday, an anniversary, a longstanding tradition, or just the tired end to a long and successful week you're celebrating, I promise one, or all, of these will surely do the trick.
And, when you're finished baking, read this article next for a few more sweet treats and joyful eats: DIY Food Gifts.
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