Happy National Fruitcake Day! Yes – today is another holiday of the yuletide season. Albeit ~ a rather strange one from my perspective. And although many people may agree that there are a few fruitcakes in congress, this one is not an official “National” holiday. For it to be one it would require an act of congress… (I’m not commenting on this!) 😉
So, you may be asking yourself, just what is this stuff? Does it really exist? And if it does, does anyone ever really eat it? How to discern this holiday treat from the other mounds of foods presented on that laden holiday table? Here is a list of some of the most well-known characteristics:
- It weighs a ton.
- You usually only see it around Christmas.
- Once it is made, it’s pretty indestructible.
- It seems to last forever.
- You look upon it and wonder…If I eat it, what will it do to me?
- Maybe the better question …is it even edible?
- Finally, those of us in the “older” generation know it all too well. But younger generations will often mistake it as a holiday door stop.
If it fits this description, then it certainly must be a…..Fruitcake!!!
Wiki says: In Great Grandma’s day, fruitcakes were as popular during the Christmas season, as ribbon candy. Okay, you don’t know about ribbon candy either, huh!?! Well, as the Christmas holiday neared, Grandma went to work in the kitchen. She lovingly took out all the dried fruits and nuts that she had so painstakingly harvested and dried during the summer months. These precious and sought after fruits, and lord knows what
other goodies, were carefully added (glued??) onto, and mixed into, a thick and heavy, sugar ladened cake. Liqueurs were added. Artificial preservatives had not been invented yet.
The resulting fruit covered cake proved heavier and denser than anything else known to man in the entire universe. It was virtually indestructible. At this point, one must pause to appreciate the creator. It was made with love by Grandma. So, no one dared to turn it down when given as a gift. And, no one dared not to eat a bit, if offered by grandma.
Pass the Fruicake….. The trick then (some may have considered it a game), was to get this gift of love from grandma, and not have to “crack” it open and eat some before she left. With luck, grandma had a poor memory and would forget to ask later if you enjoyed eating it. Meanwhile, mom would re-wrap the Fruitcake in a box and give it to someone, anyone….else. Once put into circulation as a Christmas gift, a fruitcake could be passed from one person to the next dozens of times. You might even be lucky and receive the same fruitcake gift twice! In some families, you didn’t want to be the last to receive the “gift”, as you’d have the “joy” of eating it….. or keeping it until you could give it as a gift next Christmas.
Allegedly, nothing destroys a fruitcake, not even time. After the holidays, some people put it away until the following year, and put it right back in circulation! Fruitcake lore suggests it has been eaten decades after it was made!
And now, from my family to yours:
TOP SUGGESTIONS FOR AFTER-CHRISTMAS USES OF FRUITCAKE:
- Use slices to balance that wobbly table.
- Use as speed bumps to foil the neighborhood drag racers.
- Collect ten and use them as bowling pins.
- Use instead of cement shoes.
- Save for next summer’s garage sale.
- Use slices in next skeet-shooting competition.
In the meantime, visit the Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake website for recipes, ideas and folklore surrounding this special holiday tradition!