Is this an omen?
November 8, 2010 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Wedding filter: An acquaintance and her husband recently sampled their anniversary cake (the one that spends the year after the wedding in the freezer). The groom got violently ill from the cake. Is there any mythology surrounding this tradition that will allow this possible omen to be interpreted correctly?
posted by Galen to Human Relations (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My mystic oracle-sense is tingling, saying that if the husband got sick from the anniversary cake, it's an omen that the wife might get sick, too. Don't eat the cake! Don't go into the light! Noooooo!

That will be $65, thank you.
posted by phunniemee at 12:41 PM on November 8, 2010 [11 favorites]

Best answer: It's an omen that maybe they should have their freezer temperature checked because it's maybe not keeping the food sufficiently cold.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:42 PM on November 8, 2010 [29 favorites]

We are not saving our wedding cake top from our wedding in may. we ate it at the family get together the day after the wedding.

with all the divorces happening maybe people should not spend their days looking into things like this.
posted by majortom1981 at 12:43 PM on November 8, 2010

Sure. The omen means... the cake wasn't wrapped or kept frozen properly and bacteria got to it somehow... Science is magical and doesn't reflect the current status of marriages.
posted by jerseygirl at 12:45 PM on November 8, 2010 [11 favorites]

From what I can find, the 'traditional' belief is that a wedding cake that can last a year is a guarantee of a long marriage. As others have hinted at, however, there's no rational basis for any of the superstitions surrounding weddings and their accouterments. I wouldn't worry about this except for what it says about the happy couple's freezer.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:49 PM on November 8, 2010

How do we know the wedding cake was made him sick?
posted by mmf at 12:52 PM on November 8, 2010

Is this an omen?

Only in relation to food storage procedures. It is very relevant to that. It's ludicrous that this could be an omen of the compatibility of two people living together.
posted by Brockles at 12:54 PM on November 8, 2010

Best answer: This is interesting: "The tradition of preserving the top tier of the cake and eating it on the first anniversary could be traced back during the eighteenth century when the wedding cakes were actually fruit cakes blended with wine to keep them edible even after a long time."

So, the illness upon eating the old cake is not a portent, but rather a punishment of mythological proportions for using a new-fangled bread-like cake rather than the fruit cake preferred by the gods.
posted by frobozz at 12:57 PM on November 8, 2010 [26 favorites]

I'll bite. In Christianity, evil demons may be sent out of cursed people and into food. Evidently the wedding ceremony banished demons out of the relationship and into the cake. It's too bad that the husband had to eat one of the demons to learn that this had happened, but at least now you know the marriage is otherwise demon-free.
posted by foursentences at 12:58 PM on November 8, 2010 [11 favorites]

You could view it as an ill omen, or you could view it as evidence that the happy couple is strong and secure enough to believe in their marriage, even when it seems like the world and the cake are against them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:20 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

we're making cupcakes of our wedding cake flavors for our first anniversary. it's a symbol that while the event is filled with people, the marriage is a small affair, filled with team work and memories.
posted by nadawi at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

oh, also a symbol of "you want me to keep a cake in my tiny freezer that will only get grosser the longer it sits? no thanks"
posted by nadawi at 1:27 PM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Two true stories:

1. My parents saved their cake topper from their wedding in 1968. Sometime before their anniversary in 1969, my uncle's surfboard fell behind the chest freezer and unplugged it, ruining all the food in the freezer, including the cake. They did not eat the cake and they celebrated their 42nd anniversary earlier this year.

2. My husband I saved our cake topper in my parents' second refrigerator in the basement. My brother's unicycle knocked the power cord out of the wall, ruining the food (but not the beer) in the refrigerator/freezer. We did not eat the cake and divorced after five years of marriage.

1. Eating, or rather not eating, the cake topper means nothing.
2. Little brothers ruin everything.
posted by 100watts at 1:59 PM on November 8, 2010 [26 favorites]

> How do we know the wedding cake was made him sick?

Seconding this. He ate nothing else all day? His doctor diagnosed weddingcakitis?

They both ate it, right?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:10 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just after I got married my friends advised me not to eat the one-year cake as it was bound to disappoint. I was delighted that people were already coming up with ways for the marriage to fall short of expectations.

Anyway, there is an old superstition (that I just made up now, but it could be reeeeeeaaly ancient too) that says that if the wedding cake stays fresh then the marriage will wither and go stale, but if the wedding cake is tasteless, dry, and dead, then the marriage will remain vibrant and alive.

So, yay them!
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:29 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think it simply means that it's probably not all that possible to preserve modern wedding cakes in the freezer for a year and have them still be edible.

My mother-in-law kindly stored ours for us for a year in her deep freeze. Sadly, it did not prevent the cake (a lovely vanilla sponge with raspberry filling) from becoming freezer-burned. It had to be thrown out. We celebrate our nineteenth year of happy marriage next month.

I'd much rather have fresh cake, anyways.
posted by tully_monster at 2:34 PM on November 8, 2010

My uncle kept the top of his wedding cake. They couldn't eat it, though, because it went off because it was just sponge. I think my parents did eat theirs, because it was fruitcake. And it has to be fruitcake! The dense, very fruity kind.

So yes its a thing, and its not gross, unless you try do it with cake that isnt meant to last for longer than a week. I dont think its an *omen* of anything, i heard it was just good luck or something.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:34 PM on November 8, 2010

Oh, and they're both still happily married, for what its worth
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:35 PM on November 8, 2010

"In Christianity, evil demons may be sent out of cursed people and into food."

In the first place, pigs weren't food to Jews at that time.

In the second place, and I haven't been able to find the citation yet, we are not supposed to interpret signs or omens in this way. We should know better than to think a fruit cake has the gift of prophesy.
posted by tel3path at 4:23 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Although there is an exception to every rule.
posted by tel3path at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2010

I've only had one experience with folks that saved the cake for the 1st anniversary. I was on a canoe trip (two or three days) with a few other people. The first night, over the campfire, one of the couples dug into their food supply and produced a cake. Broke out some napkins, and gave us each a piece.

As we ate it, they explained that it was their 1 year old wedding cake that they had saved for a year... that put me off a bit, but I kept eating... it was an interesting cake with a sort of glaze frosting on it.

As we finished, they noted that, the cake actually had white frosting originally, but, in packing it, they had left it on the counter and the cat had licked all the frosting off.

none of us got sick... just sayin'. I think they are still married, but I haven't seen them in 30 years, so I'm not really sure....
posted by HuronBob at 4:36 PM on November 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

it's an omen to make themselves a rich boozy fruitcake for their 5th anniversary and sample it with much less trepidation on their 10th.
posted by runincircles at 5:02 PM on November 8, 2010

Following an earlier line of questioning, if they both ate the cake and only the husband got sick, it probably wasn't the cake. My sister's husband had a couple of really nasty bouts of 'food poisoning', that no-one else shared despite eating the same food (from respectable kitchens, too). They were explained in retrospect by a bout of acute appendicitis: grumblings of warning, the doctors said. Recovering from emergency surgery had him off work for six weeks.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 5:08 PM on November 8, 2010

Yep, the omen is that they ought to have had a fruit cake. Our fruit cake was delightful a year later - and we had so much, we shared it with the whole party. It was iced with marzipan and royal icing too -but no alcohol, and didn't need need to be frozen, as it was so sealed in icing. The other layer that we've saved for 5+ years is frozen, just in case.
posted by jb at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2010

Seriously, folks, you can't say what made you sick. Just because you ate anniversary cake and then became sick doesn't mean the anniversary cake made you sick. Mental shortcuts may work that way, but reality doesn't. The reality is that you eat many foods every day, and when one of them makes you sick you can't tell which one it is, because it's unlikely to be the most recent one.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:34 PM on November 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

Look to the future, and don't be burdened with the past. Keep the marriage fresh by refreshing it, not by seeking to preserve it.
posted by amtho at 7:31 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of the George Carlin joke about the Father who planted a tree when his daughter was born. When she turned 16 lightning hit the tree and it burned to the ground. "What a way to mess with your daughter's mind!"

The point being you can't take this omen stuff too seriously.

For those thinking of doing this, some wedding cake places will include a free anniversary cake with the wedding cake purchase (a small cake made like the wedding cake offered one year later)--a much more sensible way to go about it.
posted by eye of newt at 10:10 PM on November 8, 2010

FUN FACT: my parents were married in 1977. They froze their top tier. It was a white sponge cake. Would you like to know when they--and by they, I mean 'we'--ate it?


It was pretty dry. I was disappointed and would not order thirteen-year-old sponge cake again. I do wish I remembered what brand of deep freezer they had at the time, because that thing must have been a trooper.

kids'll eat anything, really, if you include the word 'cake' in the description. I want to believe that it was some other cake that my mom had forgot about in the freezer, but...I've met my mother.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 5:08 PM on November 9, 2010

Response by poster: Everyone, thanks for the insights. And the laughs. I was especially curious if there was some old superstition about cakes like there is about seeing the bride before the service, etc.

I'll try to remember to report back in 9 years with an update on their condition :)
posted by Galen at 7:37 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

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