Monday, 13 April 2009

Simnel Cake

I made you for the first time today.
I made you.

I remembered your sweetness from another life.
A life in my mother's house, covered with innocence of tiny chicks and pink icing.
A life in Africa: plain, simple, no adornments.

Now you enter my life again.

I remembered the richness of you, the moisture, the promise of hidden secrets.
The eggs, symbols of the new life we have.
The flour of a bountiful harvest.
The sugar, produced by hard working hands in the cane fields.
The vine fruits, picked by hand, spread out in the sun on rough sacking to dry.
The nuts, ground fine - because 'bought marzipan will do, but homemade is better' says my mother, baker and lover of cakes, maker and decorator of children.

These things are of my life, yet come from other lives of mine.

The eggs I gathered as a child, staying on a farm in Norfolk.
The flour, ground from the wheat my sister-in-law had harvested.
The sugar, produced by friends in western Kenya, who laboured from before dawn to beyond dusk to hack and cut the unyielding cane.
The grapes, picked by my Cretan sister's neighbours, dried in the village fields. Withering, changing until I could once again revive their plumpness.
The nuts I bought in a Kenyan market, paying by the heaped tin, sorting through for insects. Grinding by hand, kneading with the egg and sugar, working,working into marchpane sweetmeat.

Simnel cake, you echo the Passover meal. Eggs roasted, celebrating freedom and new life. Fruits, resembling the bricks and mortar made by those slaves in Egypt. The sugar sweetness of freedom. The grapes which grew so abundantly in the Promised Land.

Now, Simnel cake, you echo Easter.
New life; abundance; sweetness of forgiveness;becoming one with Jesus in the vine of his kingdom.

Simnel cake, I made you.
I rejoice in what you are made of.

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