Saturday, February 4, 2012

inquiring minds want to know: cake edition

chocolate peanut butter draping
photo via

I have long been puzzled by the phrase, " you can't have your cake and eat it, too."  While I knew what people were getting at when they used this phrase, it didn't make much logical sense to me.  If I'm going to be able to eat the cake, I will have to have it first.  And if I can't have the cake, how could I possibly eat it.

I finally broke down and investigated the origin of this phrase.

According to the sources that be at Wikipedia, the phrase actually indicates the impossibility of
consuming a thing while also managing to conserve it. The phrase may also be used to point out the flaw in wanting to have two irreconcilable things or having two incompatible feelings.   Phrases with similar meanings include, "you can't have the best of both worlds" and "you can't have it both ways." 

Wikipedia also has this to say about the origin and history of the phrase:

"The phrase's earliest recording is from 1546 as "wolde you bothe eate your cake, and have your cake?" (John Heywood's "A Dialogue Containing the Number in Effect of All the Proverbs in the English Tongue").[1] This phrase alludes to the impossibility of eating your cake and still having it afterwards. The modern version (where the clauses are reversed) is a corruption which was first signaled in 1812. Further misconception has been perpetuated in main-stream media by Douglas Pace during his argument that it is in fact the order of the eating and having which matters, similar to the chicken and the egg conundrum."

Also, if you are wondering how to make (and eat) the delicious cake above, you can find the recipe here.

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