Journal

The Fairy Bread Tradition

by | Jun 23, 2014 | Editorial

When my third daughter turned thirty, family and friends threw her a party. One of her childhood friends, now a pastry chef, came to make the birthday cake as a surprise.
I hadn’t seen her in years. She walked into my house, stood on the threshold of the living room and gasped. “Oh my goodness!” she said. “I’m back in high school! It looks exactly the same.”

I laughed and we hugged. Then she looked at me and said, “Please tell me you’re making fairy bread.”

It was my turn to gasp. “Fairy bread? Oh, my! I forgot all about fairy bread. How could I have forgotten?”

Fairy bread was a staple of every one of the nearly forty (yes, I counted) birthday parties I made for my kids way back when. I got the idea from my friend Miriam, who was from Australia where apparently this originated. Now, I’m not much of a cook and I certainly can’t bake, but I could always manage fairy bread.

I simply slathered butter on multitudes of sliced bread and then pressed a generous layer of colored sprinkles on top. Finally, I cut each piece into four triangles and arranged them layer by layer on platters. Nutritious it was not, but this was, after all, birthday party fare. And no matter what else I served, it always disappeared.

So, of course, I made fairy bread for my daughter’s 30th.

The party was beautiful, the cake was spectacular and the drinks a lot more sophisticated than the lemonade I used to serve. But every  one of my daughter’s childhood friends zeroed in on my teetering platter.

“Oh, look! Fairy bread!”

“Your mom made fairy bread!”

“I remember those days!”

I may have forgotten, but those now-grown-up little girls, many already mothers themselves, hadn’t. There’s a kind of Tinkerbell magic in that, isn’t there?

I hadn’t seen her in years. She walked into my house, stood on the threshold of the living room and gasped. “Oh my goodness!” she said. “I’m back in high school! It looks exactly the same.”

I laughed and we hugged. Then she looked at me and said, “Please tell me you’re making fairy bread.”

It was my turn to gasp. “Fairy bread? Oh, my! I forgot all about fairy bread. How could I have forgotten?”

Fairy bread was a staple of every one of the nearly forty (yes, I counted) birthday parties I made for my kids way back when. I got the idea from my friend Miriam, who was from Australia where apparently this originated. Now, I’m not much of a cook and I certainly can’t bake, but I could always manage fairy bread.

I simply slathered butter on multitudes of sliced bread and then pressed a generous layer of colored sprinkles on top. Finally, I cut each piece into four triangles and arranged them layer by layer on platters. Nutritious it was not, but this was, after all, birthday party fare. And no matter what else I served, it always disappeared.

So, of course, I made fairy bread for my daughter’s 30th.

The party was beautiful, the cake was spectacular and the drinks a lot more sophisticated than the lemonade I used to serve. But every  one of my daughter’s childhood friends zeroed in on my teetering platter.

“Oh, look! Fairy bread!”

“Your mom made fairy bread!”

“I remember those days!”

I may have forgotten, but those now-grown-up little girls, many already mothers themselves, hadn’t. There’s a kind of Tinkerbell magic in that, isn’t there?

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