Monday, August 24

Life as a Cake Tin

Once upon a time, Cake tins were held in high esteem, and were reused over and over again.

Life as a cake tin was once quite a grand position to have. the cake tin being almost essential to life as we knew it. Cake  tins housed cakes. biscuits, shortbread, gingerbread, slices, all the good things.

At huge baking marathons, they would be used for the take- a- cake for the school cake sale day, or the School Fete. Of course the slightly inferior tins were used for those occasions. The Best tins would be kept at home for personal, and special use.

Pre Christmas, the tins would be filled with full rich Christmas cakes, with brandy added, and shut away to mature in dark cupboards, with DONT TOUCH!! warnings.

Short bread, and various other special biscuits and sweetmeats, would be stored in these tins, in readiness for the Special Day. Such things as Christmas Mince Pies would be stored away, usually in the same tin every year. I never understood Christmas Mince, and never will. I find it revolting.
Many tins were labelled underneath, with the name of the owner, so that they could be returned to the owner, after such things as Fair Day, Christening Day, Birthday, Engagement Party, sometimes for the small hasty discreet wedding when the bride was 'up the duff', and a quiet, discreet little marriage was deemed the best way to handle that little slip.

The joys of raiding the cake tins, while parents were off milking the cows, or coping with the hay making, and shearing time,  all that entailed lunches and  smokoes. Though surely if there were any stealing of cake or biscuits, baked specifically to feed the crews, there would be hell to pay and often very sore rumps. The humble jam sandwich was a much better after school snack option!

Sometimes the tins were used for less exciting objects, such as stamp collections - remember those?(Though I am sure the fanatical stamp collector would not regard that as a step down the ladder, for the humble cake tin.)
Or for button collections, ribbons, lace 'notions' which is really a word for bits and pieces and  oddments used for sewing or embroidery.

Perhaps, when they got really shabby, they would be used for nails, screws, corks, bottle tops, nuts bolts, small tools, or, bicycle patches, for those endless punctures on over full tyres.
Young boys would look forward to a 'Nanna cake tin' they were allowed to take for those endless treasures, such as bugs, pieces of string lumps of rubber, for making slings, to fire at each other in fun, or not always fun. Sling shots were apt to be banned, so they needed a good hiding place, so the 'Secrets' tin was a great hideaway from prying brothers or sisters.

AS time passed, and plastic became the new god for containers for all manner of items, inevitably cake containers, and the humble cake tin became old hat. The modern young wife wanted to have her kitchen containers to be matching. Green and cream was a popular colour scheme I think in those days of the '50s. Later came the glaring bright Burnt Orange, the Avocado, a sort of sickly green, also a mix of brights for various containers.
The very early plastic was looked upon with scorn. It smelt terrible, and no self respecting man was going to eat cakes from 'stinky poisonous plastic'. Perhaps they were right to beware!

As more time passed the plastic became slightly more refined, the horrible smell disappeared. Tupperware came to be, and every good housewife worth her salt had to have her Tupperware cake containers, and serving dishes, and all manner of other less noisy containers for her baking and cakes.

Children were actually quite delighted. It made sneaking cakes or biscuits a lot easier. The lids didn't clatter like tins!  Often the lids were much easier to remove too, which aided the stealth.

Nowadays it seems the cake/biscuit tin is very out of fashion. Any Op Shop houses plenty of orphan tins, which the retiring older generation have passed along. No place in small homes for such things. Always supposing someone could be bothered baking!

It seems a little sad somehow. My Son in Law gave me some delicious Shortbread for Xmas, and now that the tin is empty I suppose I should just throw it out, but I am thinking to repurpose it for storing batteries. You know those damn things you always fail to find when you need them. I am finding them in all sorts of strange places so I think a move to one location, will be a step forward. Plus the tin gets a new lease on life.

No pictures today. It has been such a dark grim day, it looked more like an English Winter day, than an Australian Winter day.

k.d. lang. Smoke Rings.


persiflage said...

Hi Meggie, your posts are as interesting as ever. Yes, you do need biscuit tins to put things in,. I hope you get that shoulder fixed soon, and how tedious to have a sinkhole.

Tanya said...

We still get cake tins in Japan! But they rust easily and though they get a year of use afterwards as travel sewing boxes, eventually I have to toss them out.

Meggie said...

So nice to see you Tanya. Often think about you. I keep in touch with Persiflage on Facebook, as I do with quite a few friends from the blogging days.
I hope you are well, and I must catch up with your blog.

Tanya Brown said...

Missed this one. Lovely memories and writing.

Marja said...

Kia ora Meggie I see you have been posting again. I so love cake tins or all tins actually I use the for decoration and to put stuff in as well. I've got more tins then plastic Great write.

Catherine said...

Rather randomly ran across your blog this morning. I was looking at quilting blogs, and being a lover of the art of the written word, stopped at yours. I am a stranger, but I hope you are well, and simply too busy with the joyful things in life to blog.

I still have my grandmother's cake tins. I like the dents and rusty spots, and they still make lovely cakes. One of the larger ones is currently perched on my counter filled with shark tooth fossils sifted from the sand 4 months ago in Venice Florida. I keep meaning to put them in a glass container and set them out for decoration, but I like to poke through them and admire the different lovely colors and shapes, all worn so smooth from thousands of years in the ocean. I think I like having the tin out as well. It reminds me of the woman who was more a mother to me than my own. It's not her tin, but she taught me to bake in ones similar. I have a jelly roll pan upstairs in my sewing nook with t-shirt squares on it. We made the most fabulous mint chocolate cakes with a pan just like that. Vivian also taught me to quilt, so I am betting she would approve of using my pan for fabric on its way to being a quilt.

I felt compelled to leave you a note just to say that people *do* want to hear. Those that know loss, anyway. It helps to know that others feel just as exquisitely, just as searingly, just as silently. I cannot fathom losing a child. I always tell them, "No bad will ever come to you unless it is by my hand! I claim the right of first refusal!" How dare cancer steal that from you?

I hope you are well. I hope your shoulder has healed and your patio is repaired. I hope Honey is still getting around ok. I hope the noise and bustle of "retired" life aren't getting you down, but instead calling to you to come out and play. Be well.


Pablo (yo) said...

Hi, Congratulations for your blog!!
I also have a blog, about philately:
I intend to get a visit from every country, and I would really apreciate a visit from Saint Martin

Pablo from Argentina

Meggie said...

Catherine, I have just read your lovely comment on my post. I have been so alienated from this blog for so long. I am just beginning to find the strength to post here again I has, been, and is, a long journey, to where I feel I can write again. I am rickety, and very unsure of my words. My lovely granddaughter urges me to "just write". I hope her faith is right.