K IS FOR KEEP

January 19, 2017

How many times have you heard this phrase:

 

“You can’t have your cake and eat it.” —  Annoying Person

 

And how many times have you wondered what it means?

Does it mean I can’t choose the cake I’d like to eat?  Does it mean I won’t be allowed to eat it once I’ve chosen the one I want?  Or does it simply allude to the fact that one can’t have everything in life?

Careful! You can eat them but you can’t have them.

It’s the latter theory that I went with in my younger years. That is, until the day someone explained the proverb to me.

The fact is that ‘have’ in this context means ‘keep’.  In other words, you can’t keep the cake you’ve eaten because it’s clearly gone.  So you can either keep your cake for later (unwise: someone might pinch it) or you can eat it now.  But you can’t do both.

So my younger self was right to think you couldn’t have it all. I just hadn’t quite arrived at the correct origin.

Got any cake-related queries?  Do comment below!

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