I don’t know what made me think of the Biff, Chip and Kipper books this week, but I was pretty amazed by how well I could remember some of the stories. I know a lot of children still learn to read with these “Oxford Reading Tree” books, but I don’t have kids and I definitely haven’t clapped eyes on one of these books for about 25 years.
Yet here I am, perfectly remembering the magic key. DO YOU REMEMBER THE MAGIC KEY?! And Floppy’s “crazy” antics? And Wilf and Wilma?!
And then of course, there was Kipper’s cake. He was making it for a birthday party I think. For toys? Yes I think it was for toys because when we recreated it one day at infant school, we all brought our own toy to this “party”.
I don’t know why I’m putting “party” in speechmarks so sarcastically. As five year olds (were we five? Maybe we were six) this cake making activity really did feel like a party. In fact, it may have been the best party I’ve ever been to.
Yep, it was “The Toys’ Party”, thank you Google. You can still buy it here.
The ingredients for this cake were ludicrous. It had cornflakes, it had ketchup, it had jam. There was lots of sugar. Heck, even baked beans got thrown in there.
And there we were, already finding the mere concept of this cake HILARIOUS, being told by a teacher that we were going to make it ourselves.
There can’t be many things quite so exciting that you can say to a five year old. For your teacher – the bastion of authority – to not just sanction but encourage an afternoon of messy ridiculousness felt almost unbelievable. We were being asked to play with our food. BY A TEACHER.
When offered to taste what we’d made there were a few bonkers boys who claimed to like the ketchup-jam-cornflake creation, much to the amusement of the baying crowd. Us sensible girls knew full well it was disgusting.
Mum had had just about enough of Kipper’s mess-making, Mum was LIVID. (Also: Mum had great 80s earrings).
The fact I can remember near enough all the ingredients to this cake nearly two and a half decades after last seeing the book is testament to how special this cake-making activity was.
In writing this post I’ve realised that making Kipper’s cake is actually a very popular teaching exercise and Park Mead Infants were by no means groundbreaking for letting us tip sugar everywhere, but I hope the teachers who put on this little spectacle realise what lovely long-lasting memories it creates.
This may not be a delicious Friday Food Memory, but it’s a treasured one and I don’t doubt that these types of frivolous follies are vital for developing a love of reading, writing and just plain silliness in the adults we become.