The Parsnip Cake


December nineteen forty-two,
party planned, but what to do ─
rations gone, no sugar, no butter,
no sweet delight to ice the cake
Mum had  begged and bartered
the wherewithal to bake.

In the garden, not much to gather  ─
potatoes, onions, parsnips.
Parsnips are sweet mashed to a lather.
Solution found, the cake is iced
without telling a soul.

Games played with shrieks of delight,
wartime party tea a wonderful sight
Candles blown out, cake demolished
in seconds, declared a triumph
against adversity, relished
but never repeated.



Zany Miz Quickly gave us the line Passing on the Mother. How can you not use a line like that somehow?”  I swithered and moithered, fossicking in my memory  before coming up with the true story of my fifth birthday.



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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23 Responses to The Parsnip Cake

  1. julespaige says:

    This is really delightful. I actually made a parsnip and potato mash for my son when he was in grade school one year. They were studying what the soldiers in the Civil War (in the states) ate.
    I tried to look it up but I only saw the two veg cooked separately – though I thought there was a special name for that cruel mix. Anyway I liked it.

    You’ve opened a window to history. Amazing how challenges are met.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love it! You got it right with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You did fantastic!


  4. This gave me goosebumps, Viv…how powerful it is to see the strength of a mom determined to give her little girl a Happy Birthday…thank you, for sharing this memory. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been reading a lot of World War two novels lately, and this really brings it home. I was too young during the war to remember these kinds of details, so my mother did tell me she had to use a coke bottle for my feelings. She was unable to nurse and just put my formula in that. But in France, Great Britain, and all the other countries where the war happened, how many more hardships they endured.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. excelsizeus says:

    Love the poem. Very evocative of a bygone age.

    And …. how did you get your poem to format as a poem in the reader? Mine always come in a big sausage line. How do I avoid this?


  7. kudos to your mother who was not to be deterred.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. catterel says:

    I never fail to be amazed by the inventiveness of British housewives during WW2!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. barbcrary says:

    Oh my. Parsnips have never been my favorite of vegetables, but perhaps they’re worth another try.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Misky says:

    And diabetic-friendly, I suspect! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. tialys says:

    Have you never tried making a cake with parsnip again? I wonder what it would be like. I’ve made them with carrots, obviously, and courgettes but never thought about parsnips. Off to Google in case there is a wonderful recipe 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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