Family Tradition For A Sweet First Day of School

Yesterday, my friend and neighbor, Ellen Day told me she was baking special “first day of school “cookies for her son, Jimmy.

Ellen’s cookies reminded my Blue Mother Brain of my “First Day of School Glazov Boys Tradition”. The beginning of the school year evokes a copious amount of memories about my childhood, my teaching career and our sons’ 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.

When Joshua and Noah were little boys I began a tradition of making honey cake for their first day of school. I would slice a piece of cake and then cut it into the letter Chai, the Hebrew letter that represents life.

I wanted our sons to have a sweet life experience in school!

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.”

This year, our eldest grandson will begin 2nd Grade, our granddaughter will begin Kindergarten, and youngest grandson will begin Pre-School.  All our grandchildren will be visiting on Saturday and I plan on making my Honey Cake recipe for all 3 three young students.

My Orange Brain is  excited to  begin the “First Day of School Glazov Grandchildren Tradition”!
I want our grandchildren to have a sweet life experience in school!

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.

Honey Cake
1/2 C. 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 C. chopped walnuts, almonds, pecans or 1/2 C. 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 nuts and chopped nuts and 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.

Enjoy and Best Wishes for a Sweet School Year!

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