Tag Archives: Cake

Cake, Heritage and Mother’s Day

This April 24th saw the yearly Heritage Day in Flanders, Belgium with the 2016 overall theme ‘Rituals’. Pretty ideal to connect this with the Cake exhibition! Cake goes along with a lot of rituals: think of blowing birthday candles, newlyweds cutting wedding cake together, and many others.

The Europeana Food and Drink touring exhibition Cake? Cake! , organized by the project partners Centre for Agrarian History and Royal Museums of Art and History is residing in Leuven, Belgium in Woonzorgcentrum Edouard Remy, a home for elderly people since April 22th.

The director of the Woonzorgcentrum was more than willing to co-operate and host a Heritage Day for his residents and all visitors.

“We wanted to work intergenerational, so we aimed at getting as many families with children to the home. A children’s play about cake  was organized and we developed an educational package to go with the cake exhibition. And we hired a photobooth. Big and small could dress up and pretend to eat a piece of cake. Everybody loved it. Wheelchairs aside, and getting up for five minutes to have that picture taken with son or daughter, grandchild or even greatgrandchild. And in the background: the campaign image of the Cake exhibition, the little baker”, Greet Draye from Centre for Agrarian History describes the atmosphere of the day.

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Heritage Day Leuven, 24th April 2016

Afterwards there was time for a real piece of cake. Speaking of which:  Mother’s Day is approaching. No better occasion to treat your mum with cake than that!

Cake for Mother’s Day

In Belgium the tradition of eating cake at Mother’s Day occurred for the first time in the fifties. And since mum was the one who used to bake cakes those days, a mother’s day cake was always to be bought at the baker’s. Mother’s day was – and still is – the high day for mothers and bakers.

Mother's Day Cakes, Bakkerijmuseum Veurne
Mother’s Day Cakes from Bakkerij Baelde, around 1950-1960, Bakkerijmuseum Veurne

By Greet Draye, Centre for Agrarian History and Angelika Leitner, Austrian National Library

Taart? Taart! Heritage Day in Leuven

From 22nd of April to 31st of May, the Europeana Food and Drink Touring Exhibition on cake takes a stop at the retirement home in Leuven.

The  Heritage Day on Sunday, 24th of April 2016 for families celebrates cake in every aspect: With workshops, a theatre, photobooth and crafts corner where children can create their favourite cake out of paper, and a movie on three elderly bakers that are now living in the retirement home.

Take a look at the flyer (in Dutch) here:

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Cake? Cake! Touring Exhibition Opening at Bakery Museum Veurne

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On October 2nd, 2015, after months of preparation, we finally celebrated the opening of our touring Cake! Exhibition at the Bakery Museum in Veurne, Belgium.

Opened with speeches by Celine Mouton, councillor for tourism in Veurne and Liesbeth Inghelram, curator of the Bakery Museum Veurne, visitors were able to learn more about the Bakery Museum, its cultural importance, and obviously, about cake.

To get a taste of the scope of the exhibition, an overview of the Flemish history of cake was given by Dr. Greet Draye from  Centre for Agricultural History, coordinator for the exhibition and partner institution within Europeana Food and Drink:

The History of Cake

Until the end of the nineteenth century, cake was a luxury product. Because everything that made cake sweet, especially sugar, but also native and exotic fruits and chocolate, were expensive. Only the nobility and the upper middle class could afford cakes for special occasions or celebrations. At the end of the nineteenth century cakes started to appear slowly on tables of ordinary people as well. But only if there was a specific occasion, it was not present at every feast. Although sugar was more affordable then, it still remained expensive.

From the 1920s onwards, there were no (religious) festivals or special occasions without cake anymore: birthdays, baptisms, communion or spring festivals, weddings, funerals, Easter-, Epiphany‑ or Ash Wednesday celebrations, carnivals, and obviously Christmas … Several of those occasions along with their specific cakes are presented in the exhibition.

Already at the end of the nineteenth century, a long time before cake came within everyone’s reach, girls were taught cake baking in domestic science schools. A cake would keep the husband and the children at home on Sunday. It also would keep them away from the cafe or other perditions.

In a government report from 1886 could be read: ‘Think of the role that cake will play on Sundays, when the family, at the end of the meal, is gathered around the table, or the favourable impact cake has on the children during the week. It is clear then that there is no question of loss of time! “

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Tour Dates & Locations

The exhibition tells the history and traditions of Cake in 10 panels. Subjects like Weddings, Birthdays, the harvest and others highlight the variety of occasions where cake plays a role.

After the Bakery Museum in Veurne, the touring exhibition will  be displayed at other venues all over Flanders:

  • 2nd October – 30th November 2015 – Bakkerijmuseum, Veurne
  • 8th – 15th February 2016 (half term) –  Bakkerijmuseum, Veurne
  • 22nd February – 10th March 2016 – Library Voeren, Voeren
  • 12th – 20th March 2016 –  VCCV Het Veltman Huis, Sint-Martens-Voeren
  • 22th March – 20th April 2016 –  Keizerzaal Abdijsite Sint-Truiden, Sint-Truiden
  • 25th April  – 31th May 2016 –  Woonzorgcentrum Edouard Remy, Leuven

The exhibition is part of a series of products developed by Europeana Food and Drink. The exhibitions were developed by project partners Centre for Agrarian History and Royal Museums of Art and History. Besides the travelling exhibition, we also developed a virtual exhibition on the Cake theme. Find out more here.

Can’t get enough of cake? Indulge in traditional cake specialties and share your own recipes at the Week of Taste in Belgium.

By Chris Vastenhoud, Greet Draye and Angelika Leitner