Monday, June 20, 2011

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man

While we were growing up my mother always seemed to have a song for something we did or saw while out.
She would sing or say the rhyme either the first line of a whole verse. As we got older I would cringe when she started it while out in public.

But I have found I am just like her and often think of a song or rhyme when I see something and hum or say it to myself as I know how embarrassing it is out loud.

Yesterday Katrina did some baking and on her facebook page she posted something about it and I said I felt a rhyme coming on.

Cupcakes for the new BNZ Cambridge branches opening day, Katrina and I were given.

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with B,
Put it in the oven for baby and me.

The origins of Pat a cake are unknown.

If told by a parent to a youngster, the "B" and "baby" in the preceding two lines ( in the picture above) are at times replaced by the child's initial or first name. The tradition of decorating cakes with the name or initial of a child is still adhered to today.

The song Pat a cake is one of the oldest and most widely recognized nursery rhymes. The first recorded version of the rhyme is from 1698, with it not appearing again in print until 1765.
The rhyme was incorporated into a clapping game, - much loved by children everywhere.

The actions which accompany Pat a cake were probably simply used as a hand warming game for very young children and also thought of an account for the ritual of passing this particular song from one generation to the next.

Another interesting fact I found on one site...

Historical Note:
The Bakers of London. The Great Fire of London of 1666 was started in a Baker's shop, in Pudding Lane and ravaged the City. Bakeries were always viewed as Fire Risks and the premises of the baker to King Charles I was also situated in Pudding Lane. It is thought this maybe one of the origins of the poem.

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