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traybakes

When a Wycliffe colleague from Dublin was joining us some years ago, she referred in a conversation to Protestant traybakes. That was news to me. I thought everyone in Ireland enjoyed traybakes. The English I wasn’t so sure about…

Recently someone directed me to this blog by Petroc Trelawny, a BBC Radio 3 presenter who also writes about music, books and travel.

There was a time, long ago, when business at Broadcasting House in Belfast would briefly halt at eleven in the morning and three-thirty in the afternoon – the hours when the canteen laid out the fresh traybakes. Quite correctly, a former controller of BBC Northern Ireland decided the sweet cakes were taking up too much time – and now they appear on special occasions only.

Caramel slices, snowballs, raspberry ripple squares … I don’t really like sweet, sugary things, but, when in Ulster … The classic Northern Ireland traybake is the ‘Fifteen’; 15 marshmallows, 15 digestive biscuits, 15 glace cherries – chopped and crushed, bound together with condensed milk, refrigerated, rolled into a sausage and then cut into fifteen pieces.But wait. Shock horror. I have discovered that traybakes are sectarian.

Fifteens

Fifteens

A friend of mine from Belfast phoned the other day on his way back from a wake. I asked him if there had been any traybakes. He went quiet, then uttered a line of admonishment. ‘It was a Catholic funeral – there were scones, not traybakes’. So now I know. Fifteens and snowballs for the Protestants; cherry, fruit and plain scones for the Catholics. But, as I can testify, on the rare occasions when traybakes now appear at the BBC, people of all faiths and no faith fight their way to the front of the queue. Perhaps traybakes can be seen as a metaphor for the success of the peace process.

In Wycliffe Bible Translators UK, traybakes have been much more than a metaphor!

Traybakes have fuelled many’s a Wycliffe event – and not just social ones. Traybakes have been central to events held in and around Belfast: First Steps (formerly known as Wycliffe and Me), Wycliffe:Live, Pray 10/11/12.

But a few years ago, we began to export traybakes to England when we held summer short term team orientation weekends. I can testify that our English colleagues now know and love their Protestant traybakes! Sectarian? Not at all – traybakes have the potential to promote world peace.

This blog is dedicated to my friend and colleague who is affectionately known as Lynda McTraybake and who introduced traybakes to Bible translation.

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