Lardy Cake

My relatives of Wiltshire fed me several pieces of lardy cake which we had purchased at the market at Devizes that morning. Despite having a sweet tooth, it was a delicacy with which I was unfamiliar, though my mouth enjoyed the taste well enough. Little wonder, however: my Lancastrian knowledge of cakes might include the Eccles and the Chorley, and tarts of Manchester, but lardy is rarely made outside the southern counties of Berkshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Sussex and Wiltshire. Rendered lard/pork fat is not an obvious ingredient when it comes to making delicious puddings, but it works well here, keeping the cake moist for longer. Centuries ago, some southern English goodwife decided that she was not going to waste some fat, and would make it into a cake, the dough of which would not go dry so quickly as her bread.

In the Psalms, dryness is sometimes a picture of weakness and death:

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. Psalm 22:15

While fat, contra today’s food adverts, is a token of vitality and blessing:

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. Psalm 63:5

Of the Lord, who called Himself the Water of Life, and of whose fatness the believer derives much nourishment, it is said:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8