Simnel Cakes - Some mothers do have 'em.

Return to Letters Menu

The recipe card said "A 900 Year Tradition. Traditionally, in England, it was decorated with wild flowers gathered by sons and daughters as they made their way to spend the second Sunday in May with their mothers." Well...

View card

Unspeakable wretches!

What do you think you are doing?

I have a copy of your Simnel Cake Recipe card and, not wanting to put to high a gloss on it, I am unhappy. No, more than that, I am miffed, peeved, irritated and, as my dear and long departed Granny used to say, sorely aggravated. Bad grammar I know but you get the point.

The offending card refers to Simnel Cakes having a 900 year tradition. I admit that this is most probably correct.

It goes on to say it is taken 'by sons and daughters as they made their way to spend the second Sunday in May with their mothers'.


As the celebration of 'Mother's Day' on the second Sunday in May is an American concoction and I am lead to believe that Columbus only did his thing in 1492-a mere 508 years ago-there is, at best, a missing 392 years in your story. N'est pas?

If you are going go to all the trouble to put out a card, why not tell the truth?

It goes something like this: Simnel cakes are made to be taken by sons and daughters to eat with their mothers on Mothering Sunday, the mid Sunday in Lent. That's in the lead up to Easter. And Easter never ever falls in May. Not even in America.

Don't get me wrong, Simnel cakes are yummy. And Australian dried fruits are ideally suited to creating that yum. I have no complaints about Simnel Cakes per se, except as a father I don't get one and have to beg a slice from mother and wife. I can cope with that.

But please, don't mess with our history.

Yours askance,

J Cosmo Newbery .

Oddly, I got two separate replies. Neither very satisfactory and it appears that it is a case of marketing convenience.