The beginning of each school year always evokes copious memories about my childhood, my teaching career, and our sons’ educational experiences from nursery school (that is what it was called in the 1970’s before the description was changed to preschool and/or early learning childhood center) through college, and law school.
Now that our grandchildren have begun the school year, my Blue Mother Brain was reminded of my “First Day of School Glazov Boys Tradition.”
When our boys were very young, I began my tradition of making honey cake for their first day of school. I would bake a honey cake and then slice a piece of cake for each of them, cut it into the letter Chai, the Hebrew letter that represents life.
I wanted our sons to know the sweetness of learning!
I was following a Jewish tradition I read about in Leo Rosten’s book, The Joys of Yiddish. Sometimes the boy’s mother would give him honey cakes, shaped in the letters of the alphabet, before he went off to Chedar (Hebrew school) on his first day or when he returned, to make him know and remember that learning is sweet.”
The following is the Honey Cake recipe from A Treasure for My Daughter cook book, which was a bridal shower gift from my mother in March 1967.
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1 C. sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 C. honey
2 1/2 C. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. allspice
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. Orange juice
1 Orange rind grated
1 to 1/2 C. Mini chocolate chips (our grandchildren’s’ favorite) chopped walnuts, almonds, pecans, or raisins
Cream together oil and sugar at medium speed in electric mixer, beat in eggs one at a time until light and fluffy. Add honey gradually with mixer in motion. Sift together flour and other dry ingredients, holding out 1/4 cup. Add flour to mixing bowl alternately with orange juice, continuing to beat a medium speed until very smooth and creamy. Toss chips, chopped nuts, or raisins with reserved flower, add to cake batter, stirring to distribute evenly. Pour into 9 x 4 x 3 inch greased loaf pan or 9 inch square cake pan; bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top springs back when pressed lightly. Remove from pan when completely cooled by turning onto a cake plate or cutting board to cut in to desired shape or slices.
Enjoy and Best Wishes for a School Year filled with the Sweetness of Learning!
I believe that every child deserves to feel loved, safe, encouraged, and confident within a trustworthy environment. Those are the reasons I wrote Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift, which is a fairy tale to teach children and adults how to enhance and strengthen their self-esteem, understand and respect themselves and others who are different than they are, enhance their creative problem solving skills and build positive and nurturing communities within their homes, schools and neighborhoods. A portion of the book’s royalties is donated to JDRF for diabetes research.
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