Sunny Nunney - Cooking up new slice of chain letter

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Do you remember chain letters?

I don’t mean the terrible 1980s gameshow hosted by the likes of Jeremy Beadle and Andrew O’Connor, I mean the actual chain letters that you used to get in the post. Were there times when you got a lovely handwritten letter through the door, only to discover that it was from a cousin you hadn’t seen in about 15 years telling you that if you sent it on to at least a dozen other people then you would be blessed with good luck?

Chain letters used to fill us with fear – we knew that nothing bad would happen if we didn’t respond to them in the correct manner but we still did. There would end up being a last-minute dash to the post office to get them all sent out on time in a last-ditch hope to secure that potential fortune that could be round the corner.

These days of course we get chain emails that require us forwarding them on to a dozen other people. Not as expensive or time-consuming as sending letters, but equally as irritating. Someone has to have been the person who started it at some point. I hope they’re proud of themselves!

Last week I learned about a new development in the world of chain letters – one that involves eggs, sugar and a couple of cooking apples. Wifey and I were sat at home on Sunday afternoon watching the football when there was a knock on the door. We opened it to find our next-door neighbour stood there clutching a plastic tub with something gooey inside that was, for want of a better term, bubbling. It looked like it could have been a specimen from Dr Frankenstein’s lab… so what was it? A ‘Friendship Cake’.

So here’s the idea – a friend or family member gives you a bit of batter, you spend ten days stirring it and adding various ingredients and then, on the final day, you split it in to four. One of the quarters you keep for yourself, add more ingredients to and then bake and the other three you pass on yourself, thus continuing the chain. The cake contains yeast so, regardless of how long it has been passed from pillar to post, it should never go off.

Here’s the good news – it tasted delicious. I was cynical, but we invited the very neighbours who gave it to us over to try some and we all loved it. What’s the downside? It takes a lot less than ten days to pop to the shop, buy a cake and eat it – and it doesn’t look as scary on the work surface!