Posted by ESC on May 29, 2007
In Reply to: Cake eaters posted by Brian from Shawnee on May 29, 2007
: : What is the meaning of the phrase "cake eaters"? I kind of understand the having your cake and eating it too, but this one is a little confusing. So if anyone knows please fill me in on this one.
: Sounds confusing all right. One is reminded of the Marie Antoinette quip "let them eat cake", when told the poor had no bread. So are cake eaters rich because they can afford cake, or is this an ironic reference to the poor?
: A more straightforward term for the unfortunate is "cake sniffers", a favorite taunt of the odious child-villian Carmelita Spats who first appeared in The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket. The implication is that the cake sniffer is too poor to afford to buy cake and can only smell it in the air as they pass the bakery.
Picture a man at a ladies' tea party, eating a bit of cake on a delicate plate. As near as I can tell from entries online, it was a 1920s phrase for a dandy or an effeminate man. See image at http://www.indiana.edu/~jah/teaching/2001_03/sources/image_cake_eater.shtml