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Esoteric Cakes and Sugarcraft
by Lynda Archard
©: Lynda Archard 2002

Kitchen superstition and myths

Here are some kitchen, cooking and food related superstitions and history or traditional background:


If my mum dropped a knife on the floor it stayed there until someone walked in and then she would ask him or her to pick it up for her. I later studied superstition and found that it was a sensible request and probably came from the days of duelling. If you dropped your sword then lost concentration trying to retrieve it your opponent had the advantage and could kill you with a swoop of his sword to your neck. In fact most superstitions and myths have this element of practicality.

Another superstition relates to the giving of knives, scissors or anything else that 'cuts.' It is said to 'cut' the relationship between you and the person you give the gift too. If you ask them to pay a penny then they have bought the gift and the relationship will stay intact.

If you spill salt take some in your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder.

To spill the expensive salt was likened to throwing away money. By throwing it over your left shoulder it was thought to go into the devils eyes and blind him from seeing your stupidity and taking your soul. A more likely reason is related to the Kabala. According to the Kabala there are three paths; most of us walk on the middle path, the right-hand path is love and light, which we need but it is not for practical living, and the left-hand path is where we meet the devil and learn our lessons before returning to the middle path. Salt was an expensive luxury used in cooking to kill germs that might have been lurking in unclean foods.

We first used salt after an ancient story about the 'salt licks' told of animals that licked the natural salt from dried up seas and helped them to become immune to illness. Later scientific experiments proved that salt kills germs and purifies the food we cook in it as well as give plain food some taste. Salt also helped to prolong the life of foods before fridges were invented. It is only in recent times that salt is said to cause heart problems if we use too much and lo-salt alternatives have become more popular to those of us who like the taste of salt. Today people do not want salt and preservatives added to food and forget that we can't store the foods for weeks at a time without it.

A kitchen should never be without salt according to my grandmother and my catering teacher, Mrs Harris. I have a small sachet tucked away at the back of my cupboard to prevent ever running out and to keep good luck in my kitchen.

Planting beans before 9am mean a good crop to follow

By planting in the morning the sun has not had the time to dry and harden the soil. This gives the seeds time to adjust and by watering them early gives time for the water to soak in before the hot mid day sun.

Birthday Cake

From: Jacky Newcomb - Freelance 'New Age' writer Angel stories, after-life communication, out-of body experiences

The Ancient Greeks were the first to write Happy Birthday on a cake in edible writing - relating to the worship of the moon goddess 'Artemis.' Her birthday was celebrated by eating moon-shaped honey cakes with candles on the top. It was said that bad spirits were attracted to celebrations so it was very important to wish a person a 'happy birthday,' blow out the candles and read any wishes inscribed on the cake as a kind of magical protection.

Most people will have performed their first piece of 'candle magic' by the time they are 2 years old. Blowing out the candles on the birthday cake is such an ingrained tradition that most people have no idea why they are even doing it!

Read my version of candle magic and cakes in the article 'The magic of cakes and pictures of a retirement cake.'

Interesting myths of Sri Lanka

From my friend Anne

Some myths I know - thought it may be helpful.

1. They believe in Sri Lanka you shouldn't go out of the house soon after eating any fried food without drinking water - they think you might 'get caught' by evil spirits!

2. On someone's wedding day, when the bride or groom leave the house to go to the church one of the family members (who is well off of course!) takes a white glass of water in her/his hand with white flowers in it (most of the time they use Jasmines) - this is for the couple who is going to marry to have children and for their prosperity.

More coming soon…

If you have a kitchen, cooking or food related superstition that you want me to research or include please email to me with as much reasoning or history behind it as you can.

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The magic of cakes and pictures of a retirement cake.

Other cake pictures.

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© Lynda Archard