One of the things I loved about school days were cake sales!
Walking to school clutching an old quality street tin filled with the delicious gooey flapjacks that my mum had lovingly made. (You won’t find a better flapjack than my mums!) Showing the contents proudly to my teacher and beaming with pride as she exclaimed how yummy they looked.
Helping to set up the table with scrumptious goodies, standing back to peruse the rickety trestle table groaning under the weight of mountains of Fairy Cakes, Butterfly Cakes, Millionaires Shortbread, Rice Krispie Cakes, bright Iced Biscuits all just below eye level and tempting us to reach out and snaffle as many as possible. Then savouring every last crumb of the treats you had chosen to buy with your 50p.
Late last night my son told me his year were holding a cake sale the following day (such an organised boy – he clearly gets it from me ) I asked which of my cakes he would like me to contribute for him. I had visions of making all kinds of deliciousness ready for the following day, baking for events like that is the best kind of baking, and I was itching to get started. But he just looked at me dumbfounded and said “No mum, we have to take in prepackaged cakes from a shop, and then when we get to school we’ll unpack them and sell them like that.”
Can you believe that? What a crazy idea! Lets face it, we all know how much better home baked cakes are to shop bought and a bake sale is one of the only times that many of us get to sample “truly made at home with love” cakes and biscuits at a good price.
Having spoken with the teachers, and to parents with kids at other schools, it came to light that these days this is the norm. Gone are the days where mums can feel they’re doing their bit to lovingly bake something for the children and here are the days where prepackaged over processed foods are pushed towards our kids instead! Are home baked cakes going to become bootlegged in schools? It certainly feels that way; when talking it over with friends many suggested I rebel and make them anyway, or replace the cakes in the packaging with home made ones and repackage them.
Not only are home made cakes disallowed but even with me being registered, insured and licensed to sell cakes to the public (a retailer of cakes and baked goods) I am not allowed to provide cakes for the sale because I am still a home baker….. Does my 5 star inspection rating and relevant food hygiene qualifications count for nothing?
This is yet another case of health and safety gone mad, the nanny state has decided it is safer to feed the kids the cakes with shed loads of additives in them than to let them choose from an array of home baked tasty cakes consisting of, on average, 5/6 ingredients.
Please note that I am in no way holding the school responsible for this farcical decision, my childrens school is wonderful, it is the same school I attended (where those aforementioned wonderful memorable bake sales were held) and the level of support and education is second to none. Having spoken with the teachers here and at other schools I would say that most, if not all, teachers feel this is a ridiculous decision.
Cakes and baked goods are a low risk food group, unless they contain fresh cream, surely a better option would be to ask the parents to bring in cakes without cream or nuts in them and to label the ingredients. Or at the very least allow professional home bakers to make cakes for the sale. I would have happily churned out a dozen chocolate cupcakes, a dozen butterfly cakes, 2 dozen flapjacks, a few caramel tray bakes and more, but as it stands I reluctantly bought some Viennese Whirls, Mini Victoria Sponges and some French Fancies, it truly felt like a part of me died whilst I stood in that cake aisle choosing these over processed cakes. Very sad to think those important childhood bake sale memories won’t be there for my son and daughter. Strange when we are all supposed to be working together to advocate home cooking and baking that we are teaching them to reach for the packaged tat instead.
If some parents dislike baking and want to provide prepackaged cakes then great, but to those who enjoy it part of the fun is baking for these wonderful sales which are ingrained in our childhood memories, surely with guidelines in place we should be allowed to carry on this tradition?
Is your childs school one of the ones that has banned the sale of home baked cakes? What are your thoughts?