“Learning Is Sweet!” – A Family Tradition!

On Sunday afternoon, our family gathered on our porch for an Orange Brain Fun Celebration of the first week of school and our daughter-in-law Sheryl’s birthday.

The beginning of the school year always evokes a copious memories from 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 our sons were little boys I began my Blue Mother Brain “First Day of School Glazov Family Tradition” by making honey cake for their first day of school. I would slice a piece of honey 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. “…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 encourage him to know and remember that learning is sweet.”

Since our grandchildren will begin 8th grade,  6th grade, and 4th grade, I enjoyed baking honey cakes for all 3 three students and their parents. My Orange Brain was excited to enjoy the “First Day of School Glazov Family 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 (I used unsifted gluten free 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. chocolate chips (our grandchildren’s preference), 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 chocolate chips, nuts and chopped nuts, or  raisins with reserved flower, add to cake batter, stirring to distribute evenly. Pour into two  9 x 4 x 3 inch greased loaf pan bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for  45- minutes or 1 hour or until top springs back when pressed lightly.

I hope you will enjoy and share our family tradition with your loved ones to have a sweet life experience in school this year! 


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