The History Of "Patty Cake" Is More Interesting Than You'd Think

by Jill Di Donato

Unless you grew up far, far away from civilization, you know the children's nursery rhyme, "Patty Cake." You may not have kids, but you probably heard the song as a child (and I bet the song is stuck in your head right now.) And, oddly enough, the history of "Patty Cake" is actually pretty interesting, and is even logged into The Poetry Foundation's archives, alongside masterpieces by Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Gertrude Stein. According to The Poetry Foundation, the author of the famous nursery rhyme is Mother Goose. Now, the question becomes, will the real Mother Goose please stand up? Is she an actual person, or a fictitious character created to sell children's jingles?

There are a couple of theories. Some literary historians believe Mother Goose to be a 17th century widow of Isaac Goose, named Elizabeth Foster Goose or Mary Goose from Boston. Other historians, however, dispute her American origins, claiming her rhymes popped up in French culture accredited to “mere l’oye” or “mere oye” (Mother Goose), or so noted the archives at The National Poetry Foundation. According to an article in LA Weekly, Mother Goose didn't come up with "Patty Cake," but rather the song originated in 1698 in English writer Thomas d'Urfey's play The Campaigners. The article continues that it wasn't until 1765 Mother Goose's Melody, that the mysterious "Mother" published her masterpiece. Regardless of the nursery rhyme's origins, the song itself is a hoot. So, to pay homage to Mother Goose, here are seven things I bet you didn't know about "Patty Cake."


There Is No Such Baked Good As A Patty Cake

Alas, there is no such thing as a real patty cake, according to LA Weekly. On the plus side, you can make any cake a patty cake, just don't expect to find it in a bakery.


When You Mark It With A "B" That Stands For Your Child's First Initial

Isn't that sweet?


An English Publisher Helped Bring "Patty Cake" To The Masses

English publisher of children’s literature John Newbery put Mother Goose's Melody into print, which helped bring "Patty Cake" to the masses, according to The National Poetry Foundation.


The Teletubbies Perform A Cute Version Of "Patty Cake"

Your kid is going to want to watch this again and again. You're welcome!


This Acoustic Youth Group Performs An Epic Version Of "Patty Cake"

Remember, that in addition to being a nursery rhyme, "Patty Cake" evolved into a child's clapping game, according to Today's Parents. It's a pretty easy clapping game to master, where you clap hands in a criss-cross motion. These guys take it to the next level though.


This Rapper Performs An NSFW Version Of "Patty Cake"

Rapper YG sings about patty cakes clapping, but he's not talking about baked goods.


If You Analyze The Lyrics, "Patty Cake" Sets A Bad Example

I know the song is supposed to be a lighthearted fun jingle, but the lyrics don't instill the best manners. In fact, the lyrics encourage your kid to be demanding without saying "please" or "thank you."

Nevertheless, "Patty Cake" is a charming old school clapping game that the youngest of tots can enjoy, and pick up some rhythm along the way.