Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 14

Fruitcake - Friend or Foe?

Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcakes?

My Favorite Fruitcake

Did I like fruitcake? Well, count me among those who are slightly odd, because I am one of those rare individuals who loves fruitcake! I especially love it with a cup of steaming Earl Grey tea. [I think the slight floral taste of Earl Grey totally compliments the rich flavor of homemade fruitcake!]

I do not particularly care for the supermarket kind of fruitcake, which is nothing at all like the old English version, nor the homemade version that I make. But, instead, I love the rum soaked, spicier version. Which I make and serve year round. Allowing the fruit to actually ferment before the baking process for at least a month. Sometimes longer!

My family may have received a few of those supermarket fruitcakes when I was growing up [I really can't recall]. I know that for years my parents special ordered an old English fruitcake. It was cut into very thin slices, and we savored it throughout the holiday season. When I became a teen, my mother then began trading that off for her 30-Day Friendship Cake. Which wasn't bad, but which lacked the real fruitcake flavor. After I married, my mother began to send me a special ordered fruitcake since I was seldom able to get home for the holidays, being married to a man in the military. It always made me feel a little closer to home somehow!

Later, as my own children became teens, I discovered a wonderful old recipe for fruitcake, in a cookbook that was out-of-print more than 200 years ago! I slightly adapted it, tweaked it for a more modern version, and found that it was my absolute favorite of all time! So, now, for months before Christmas I am baking and spicing, and then freezing the cakes until time for Christmas gift-giving. And yes, I am asked to bake these! [As well as the English plum pudding! Which is such a chore, I seldom make it except for my own family!]

Have I ever re-gifted fruitcake? Sad to admit this, but yes I have. A couple of times when a well-meaning neighbor has given me one, and someone showed up unexpected, I have re-gifted them. But I have always felt ashamed for doing so! [I also laugh that I didn't just throw them away when I received them!]

Did I ever devise a creatve use for a fruitcake? Well, yes, I did. A couple of years ago, I helped to design a shop window for Christmas. I had a fruitcake, and we shellacked it and set it at a child's table for a dolly tea-party theme at Christmas. Everyone loved it!

1 comment:

Greta Koehl said...

I'm part of the fruitcake club, too, and agree that they need to be booze-soaked for at least a month and nice and spicy.