Q. What's the origin of 'having one's cake and eating it'
A. Usually a negative expression - so NOT having one's cake and eating it - it, as we all know, means that you can't have two good things at the same time, or you can't take the benefits of something without accepting any disadvantages that may come with it.
Q. And the first mention
A. In 1611 the saying 'A man cannot eat his cake and haue it still' appeared in Scourge of Folly by J. Davies.
Q. What other cake sayings do we have
- Cakes and ale: a good time. So, 'life is not all cakes and ale' means that it's not all fun. It comes up in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, spoken by Sir Toby Belch, 'Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale '
- Hot cakes: to sell like or go like... To sell well.
- Take the cake: To carry off the honours. The phrase comes from the prize, which was a cake, in cakewalking competitions in the southern states of the USA. The cakewalk is a dance, presumably named after the prize.
- The icing on the cake: an attractive addition or that extra piece of good fortune or luck.
- A slice of the cake: a share of the take.
- A piece of cake: easy.
- The Land of Cakes: Scotland, apparently, after all the oatmeal cakes.
Q. Why so many cakes
A. Cakes are seen as being a symbol of the good life.
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By Simon Smith