The Beauty And Confusion Of Cake

Cake.  It is a fine thing.  In good times and bad times, cake has always been there to make it better.  Whether it’s been a birthday Victoria sponge, a late night cheesecake or a “we’re probably going to never see each other again” carrot and coconut, cake is there to lend a deliciously moist hand.  (Did I just ruin it with the last bit?)

I like cake.  Unfortunately it doesn’t always last long enough to take a picture of it.

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That leads me nicely on to a phrase that I don’t entirely understand – “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”.

Why not? Who else is going to eat my cake? Is someone just going to tease me with it? Is it going to end up being part of the forgotten about Christmas variety that’s so heavy it can be used as a door stop but is probably still edible a decade later?

It just makes no sense.

It actually negates the very thing the phrase is trying to say, or at least what people understand it to mean – that sometimes are trade offs are to be had and you can’t have one thing if you have another.  The error in phrasing is nearly as annoying as the twit who says “I could care less” when they clearly don’t care at all.

The first use of a similar phrase was in 1538 when the “have” and the “eat” were reversed in a turn of phrase that does make sense if one doesn’t think too hard about digestion – you can’t eat your cake and have it.  That was in a letter from Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk, to Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII.

It’s also how the phrase was mostly used up until (according to Google) the late 1930’s when the “have / eat” order became more prevalent.

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Of course, the sentiment is the same whichever the way round the verbs are said – eat cake and have no more cake.  It’s just that one version makes a lot more sense than the other.

For now, though, let’s not bother ourselves with these linguistic anomalies and instead rejoice in the greatness that is cake.

I’m looking good, got my shoulders back
A few more drinks, I’m up to dance
I get the eye as I lift my glass,
The first time in six months
She looks again I start to shake
My shoulders twitching, I’m on my way
I glance behind me for safety sake
To see a clock the size of a plane

The night is young more fish in the sea
Who’s to say she wasn’t looking at me?
I sink my head back into my glass
Get into shape for that first dance
I turn away, I look to the south
I pull my foot from out of my mouth
To my surprise she’s standing beside me
Asking if I’d like to dance

I’m standing in a hall of smoke
Her tongues in my mouth, I’d love to choke
Her knight approaches us on foot
He left his side-kick at the brook
He offered me a cigarette I said I’m far too young to smoke
So he tried to entertain me
Told me one more crappy
Joke in my ear, except the joke wasn’t clear
Set the joking aside should I run? Should I hide?
Decided to stay, rub it straight in his face
What he thought was the case was an easy mistake

I’d just like to try some carrot cake and wine
Can’t I try, taste my carrot cake and wine

Looking good, not looking back
Knight of hers took her off to dance
I get the eye as I lift my glass
But not for the last time
She looks again, too drunk to shake
My legs are twitching, my eyes are fake
I glance behind me for safety sake
To see my girlfriends tongue in the face of a friend
Who was far from a man
Should I hide? Should I run?
Must have seen what I’ve done
Decided to stay, liked the look on her face
What I thought was the case was an easy mistake

I’d just like to try some carrot cake and wine
Can’t I try, taste my carrot cake
Why can’t I try?
Why should I lie?
Taste my, try some, buy my
Carrot cake and wine

Carrot Cake And Wine by Stereophonics

 

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