Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

Poor old Marie Antoinette: it’s not enough that she had to powder her hair mauve and sculpt it into fantastic shapes, or that her young husband was a dud in bed, or that her head was lopped off in the French Revolution. She is also remembered for a phrase she never uttered, the bitchiest phrase since “speak to the hand,” or “whatev” — “Let them eat cake.” The phrase was “let them eat brioche,” and no-one really knows who said it or when or why.

What is clear, however, is that none of these are the kind of cakes she might have had in mind had she been around to utter such a thing. Marion Harris Neil, the author of Mrs. Neil’s Cooking Secrets and about a gazillion other highly useful and efficient books on household management and cookery, was the Proletariat version of Queen Marie. These are some of the delicious cakes she wanted people to bake.

Mrs. Neil’s Cooking Secrets, The Procter & Gamble Co., 1924

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