4.13.2006

No cake

I was driving home and thinking about a challenging situation I've encountered, and the phrase "You can't have your cake and eat it too" came to mind. I know it means "You can't have it both ways," but I started to wonder what it really means (because it sounds odd) and how it came to be. You can't eat cake unless you have it, so of course you "can" have it, unless it's imaginary.

Then I discovered that "you can't have your cake" means "you can't keep it" because if you eat it, it will be gone. In other words, there will be no more cake to have because you ate it all up, so don't expect to be able to save any for future enjoyment.

Michael Quinion, a British language geek and media dude explains that the phrase was

...first written down in John Heywood’s A Dialogue Conteynyng Prouerbes and Epigrammes of 1562: “Wolde ye bothe eate your cake, and haue your cake?”. John Keats quoted it as eat your cake and have it at the beginning of his poem On Fame in 1816; Franklin D Roosevelt borrowed it in that form for his State of the Union Address in 1940...

But I still want to have my cake and eat it too! (metaphorically speaking)

4 comments:

Mad Minerva said...

Yes, please, let's have our cake and eat it too...Or since it's the Easter season, after all, have our hot cross buns and eat them too! *grin*

http://madminerva.blog-city.com/in_praise_of_seasonal_deliciousness_hot_cross_buns.htm

mj said...

Unless it's Passover, which means no buns for a week. ;)

Actually, there's a small restaurant/cafe in Chicago that has the *best* hot cross buns I've ever eaten--quite rich and tasty. :)

Anonymous said...

Let them eat matzo Meal and white fish.. eww that's called gefilte fish.. this blog is sponsored by Manishewvitz

mj said...

And to you, Mr. None the Weiser, I offer a Thai laugh: 5555