Monday, December 13, 2010

Chopping Wood and Fixing Cars

Sunday, December 6, 1925: We were home all day, went up to Fiedler’s this evening. Stella isn’t so bashful now and is very cute now. Monday we washed. That eve all but Dad went up to Aunt Annie's by car. Tuesday we ironed & baked little cakes* & etz.

Wednesday was sales day at Bergers so we started to town at nine oclock. Wanted to go while the roads were frozen. Took Len along to John Tippet’s to help saw wood. Had an awful jam at Bergers’ sale. Had to lock people out. I bought black silk for a dress at $1.09 a yd. about 5 yds, also a red sweater at $1.95, a pr. of stockings for 50 or 55 cents & a corset for 49 cents. Mother bought some blankets, Ruby a cap. Weather cleared off so we came home about noon. The roads were getting quite smeary already. Uncle Edds are going to saw wood Friday.

Thursday we swept upstairs. It was a nice day. Uncle Edds & the Aunts came down in the evening. Friday Dad & Len helped Uncle Edd saw wood. They took our car. Ruby & I walked up to Aunt Annie’s later. Ethel was there too. Had about a hour's sawing yet after dinner. Uncle Edds had us look at his brake band. He had no control of the car when he went down to the road when they went home from here last night. Found part of the brake lining gone and worn out. Saturday was a nice day, not so cold.

Sunday Len, Ruby & Mother went to town to church in the forenoon. Mother stayed up to Aunt Annie’s to dinner. Walked home towards evening. Then we all went up again in the eve. Monday we washed . Len took hogs to the Station. It was cloudy all day.

* Anyone have a definition of "little cakes"? I have a glossary in the next volume of "Lillian's Diaries: Whispers of Galena's Past" and this is one of the phrases I want to define.


  1. Are you sure Pat? That is what I thought too but when I asked some "older" people they said that Patty-cakes" were cupcakes. I think I am going to have to breakdown and order a copy of Paul Drake's "What Did They Mean By That".

  2. Having grown up in the area I never heard of cupcakes referred to as anything but cupcakes, nor did I ever hear cookies referred to as anything but cookies, and I never heard anyone call either one a "little cake", but according to a 'little cake" is a cookie:

    "A cookie can be any of various hand-held, flour-based sweet cakes-either crisp or soft. The word cookie comes from the Dutch koekje, meaning "little cake." You won't hear cookie in England. But you will in the United States, thanks to our Dutch forebears. It was brought to the New World by the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam. Though they lost the colony to the English, who promptly renamed it New York in 1674, the Hollanders maintained their hearty practices."

    According to, though, a cupcake is:

    "a little cake for one person, backed in a small, cup-shaped mold and often iced."

    As I mentioned, "little cake" was never a part of our vocabulary for cookies in NW Illinois when I was growing up in the 50s (we always called them cookies, never "little cakes"), so I doubt that Lillian would have used the term to refer to anything but cupcakes. UNLESS, with Lillian's father's English background he may have called cookies "little cakes" and Lillian followed suit.

    I still think they're cupcakes.

  3. More on a tired subject:

    According to

    "A patty is a small, round meat pie", which is also called a "pasty"

    or alternately,

    "A patty is an amount of minced beef formed into a flat, round shape."

    Ergo, a patty cake is a meat pie, not a cupcake. The only other definition for Patty Cake (or Pat-a-cake) is the chid's word game.

    "Little Cake" = Cup Cake! (or less likely, cookie)

  4. The horse is dead but I'm beating him into the ground, anyway:

    A third source, Wikipedia on, says for Cupcake:

    "A cupcake (British English: fairy cake; AUSTRALIAN English: patty cake or cup cake) is a small cake designed to serve one person, (etc.)"

    The name "fairy cake" is a fanciful description of its size, which would be appropriate for a party of diminutive fairies to share.

    The term "patty cake" is used in Australia only.

    The common American (or Australian) term "cupcake" comes from the early 19th century. There were two different uses for the name "cup cake" or "cupcake". In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has persisted, and the name of "cupcake" is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup.

    The other kind of "cup cake" referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup, instead of being weighed. Recipes whose ingredients were measured using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were more commonly baked in tins as layers or loaves.

    The only other reference I found for "patty cake" is a Chinese Tau Cheo Minced Port Stuffed Yam Patty, described as:

    "Fried Yam Patty Cake: It's a sort of substitute for the usual crispy red beans pancake. The compressed Yam (taro) is sweet, a bit like O-Nee, and the Yang side of it is the salty Tau Cheo (fermented beans) minced pork."

    Once again, the patty cake in this description is a meat pie with yams.

    Okay, I quit...a "patty cake" is a cupcake only in Australia, which also calls cupcakes "cup cakes", but in the rest of the world a patty cake is a meat pie. A "little cake" can either be a cupcake or a cookie, but in Lillian's case I would bet the farm that she means cupcake.

  5. Thanks for all your hard work...a little cake is a cupcake - so be it!