Monday, February 06, 2012

In which Herman invades Wales.

Let me introduce Herman - Herman the friendship Cake:
So far not a thing of beauty, more a suppurating mass with a name. Crikey, an anthropomorphic cake.
 
What a novelty. Except I have been here, Herman-wise, before - in something like like 1983 when even then being the recipient of a Herman was something of a curse. The cake equivalent of chain mail. And we all know what to do with chain letters don't we? We commit them to the bin pronto. But this is not words on paper - this is a bubbling spluttering mix, plopping away in its prescribed 'big bowl' under its 'tea towel'. It's alive and needs to be nurtured. Fed for heaven's sake.

He'll sit on my work top for the next 9 days, presumably getting bigger and bubblier until he's subdivided - 3 portions to give away and one for me to mix up and bake with apple, dried fruit and spices on day 10.

I've politely turned down all recent offers from friends bearing little pots of the gloopy starter but yesterday there was no escape; a kind woman with an tinge of desperation in her eyes pressed forced an ice cream carton full of it into my hands. It looks as if everyone else in Shropshire has erm, had their cake and eaten it too.
Friendship cakes have done the rounds before of course. In the 60s and the 80s (when I remember them) and now, after yet another 20 year gap. Is this a regular cycle - and where do they go in the intervening years?

For me the best news is that Herman and his like have yet to infiltrate the village of Leighton on the other, Welsh side, of the hill. He might be welcome there. Ha! I have put feelers out already and indeed my lovely neighbour has expressed interest in having a portion.

If I don't kill him first.

Edited to add... a little later that same day

Herman had hardly settled his new 'big bowl' on my worktop when, with a baying and barking of the family dogs, a friend arrived a the door with a neatly cling-filmed, gloop-filled basin. Ah, this must be Herman No.2. What's a girl to do but to introduce the two mixes? Frankly it's a bit like putting two lots of strange hens together - better done under cover of darkness when neither realise the other is there until dawn's early light. I expect in the morning Hermans 1 and 2 will be the best of friends and bubbling away harmoniously.  Please form orderly queues if you would like a portion. There will now be PLENTY.

20 comments:

Pondside said...

Ah yes - the Friendship Cake. It made an appearance in my kitchen in the 70's and again in the 90's. Is there a 20 year cycle? The first two appearances ended (mercifully) with a military posting, but these days I'm going nowhere, so I'm afraid that a Herman, dropped on this doorstep, might be a bit difficult to get rid of.
Good luck!

Cro Magnon said...

Not heard of this before, although I did once have a 'FRIENDSHIP PLANT'.

I made Irish Soda Bread this morning. Very good, and oh so simple!

Fennie said...

Herman has visited. I think he died. Anyway mouth to mouth resuscitation became out of the question. Poor Herman. One for the birds, perhaps.
An orphan cake, unbaked, a cold moist and gloopy heart.

Annie said...

I remember having a ginger beer plant that was a little similar many years ago but as yet haven't had 'the cake' :-) Have fun.
Hugs,
A x

rachel said...

Never heard of him, and somehow, feel that I was one of the lucky ones.....

Cait O'Connor said...

A chef friend offered me some of this but as I am on a no/low fat diet before my op. I declined. I wanted to name it Hermione as she is so good at reproducing :-)

Penguins said...

Our daughter is visiting us from London this weekend, I understand she is bringing a cake with her for us to share yes Herman has come to the mountain, so sorry we can't share yours.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Never hosted Herman , but have met his cousin GingerBeer Plant occasionally and remember him as easily over-excited and hyper-active .
But they're all a bit like those foreign exchange students .... they need to be fed a lot . Good luck !

Nikki-ann said...

I think I've seen these before. No cakes on the go here at the moment though. Not that I can eat cake, but everyone else seems to!

elizabethm said...

Well you see I am a gregarious herman loving type. I would let him in and even tuck him up in a nice bowl under a tea towel. I do have to admit that when we tried sourdough (herman on steroids) I used all of the damn thing up and thus lost my starter for next time and gave up in despair. How the hens combine with herman?

Kirsty.a said...

I've sent you a Versatile Bloggers Award

Kirsty.a said...

I've sent you a Versatile Bloggers Award

Diary Farmer said...

Sorry about the invasion of Herman. D cooked our bit and proceeded to give the results eager grandchildren.
Perhaps we should build a new 'Dyke'?

rachel said...

Several days after posting my first comment on this monstrous concoction, I was offered one, and, thanks to the insider knowledge passed on through your post, was able to refuse politely. Thank you thank you!

Kitty said...

Never heard of that before! We used to have something similar-looking bubbling away in our downstairs loo when I was growing up, it was used in a sort of health drink, something Russian I think. A fad, no doubt.
Anyway, don't pass it my way!

Zoƫ said...

Gosh - sounds like a bit of a monster - wonder what would happen if you tipped him down the drains? Would he fester and return a few days later like something from Quatermass and over run the countryside consuming everything in his foaming wake?

I have just started making a sour dough starter, a smaller version of Herman I suspect - now I am worried it may go on for World Domination.

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