Happy Birthday, Paul Bunyan!

cake fin


cake back fin

They’ve tried to tell me that Paul Bunyan is a mythological legend. Do you think I believe them?

Of course I don’t. I’ve always known about Paul Bunyan. And now I have proof. For how could he be a myth if they baked a birthday cake for him???

He was 128 years old when this cake was baked and I bet he was still going strong, somewhere up in the North Woods where we little people wouldn’t bother him. It looks like a decent recipe – especially that ‘Bunyan Pinch of Salt: 100 pounds‘ (just about the size of a really little person).

And the sugar! Cane sugar,  4000 pounds of it! I’d never heard of the brand used, so did some research and the company is still in operation, in California.

In 1906, the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refining Company began refining pure cane sugar in the small town of Crockett, California, near San Francisco. As cargo ships offloaded raw cane sugar from the Hawaiian Islands, the refinery employed 490 people and produced 67,000 tons of refined cane sugar.

Today C&H produces cane sugar and molasses for a vast U.S. market. The Crockett refinery processes over 700 thousand tons of cane sugar annually –more than 70 types, grades and package sizes, including packaged consumer sugars as well as packaged, liquid and bulk granulated industrial-use cane sugars.

Even today, most people don’t know that some grocery stores carry two different kinds of sugar: cane sugar and beet sugar. Pure Cane Sugar, the kind C&H uses exclusively, is refined from sugarcane plants. The first cultivated sugar crop, sugarcane is grown above ground, nurtured in fresh tropical breezes under warm sunshine. Beet sugar, found in some store brands and in other makers that often don’t specify the source, is extracted from beets grown underground as a root crop.

I wonder if Paul cares what sort of sugar he eats.


4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Paul Bunyan!

  1. They must have eaten the cake afterward — that is, during the birthday celebration but after the photograph was taken. This is why the postcard hasn’t a message on it.

    Who can tour an eaten cake? Only in our memories, only in our memories.

    Whoever went to the fuss of making a postcard of something that wasn’t there anymore by the time the postcard could be sold made a mistake. He or she likely had made the fuss while under the influence of a sugar high.

  2. The back of the postcard says ‘The cake display, courtesy of Clark’s Restaurant Enterprises Inc., Seattle’.

    And the front of the postcard says that ‘souvenir mailaway boxed portions of the fruit cake are sold at the site and Clark’s Restaurants, Seattle’.

    My best guess would be that they baked the souvenir portions separately – and that the sales of those souvenirs (priced accordingly high) helped cover the cost of the display (which of course was an excellent marketing tool for the restaurants and for the other vendors involved). And of course most likely the ‘real’ cake was probably discarded after the fair closed.

    Oh! I mean, of course, that Paul must have come and taken it away to his North Woods home, there to eat it at his leisure. 🙂

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