The blog was a lot of fun last year and I asked Mike again and again to post a repeat this year. OK, on my part it was the comments that made the blog so much fun and why I wanted a repeat blog! I might be
able to safely say I wasn't the only one that enjoyed the comments either. Unfortunately, Mike's lovely wife, Linda, has been having some health issues and Mike has focused his energy into her well-being. So instead of Mike discussing his beloved fruitcake
in a blog this year he asked me to write something about them. Yes, even if I am a confirmed fruitcake disliker I believe I can do justice to the subject at hand. If you would like to see Mike's former blog for the comments or if you'd actually like to look
at his recipe here is the link-
Taste testing was out of the question so I thought I would do a little online research about the subject batter. Knowledge is always a good thing to have don't you think? I was surprised to find some rather interesting facts about our holiday cake.
The earliest known recipe dates back to ancient Rome. Dried fruit and nuts seem to be all that recipe had in common with today's versions. Once the cake landed in the Middle Ages honey, spices, and preserved fruits are added in. It's quite evident this
historical cake recipe has under gone many transformations over the years given available ingredients and which country is making it. One of the more unexpected facts I found was the number of countries claiming a unique fruitcake interpretation. Depending
on where you live you'll be using:
no alcohol to large quantities of alcohol, eaten only at Christmas or Halloween to eaten all year round, heavily iced with marzipan and sugar to no icing, rich and dark to light colored, lots of spices to little spice, dried fruits vs. candied fruits,
nuts or no nuts. The choice of alcohol used is as varied too. Rum, brandy, sherry, whiskey and wine all make their way in these various recipes.
I included looking at several recipes just for the US as part of my research just to see what our fruitcake makers were cooking. Here you can find almost as many variations in just our country alone. The one that caught my eye needs a bit of back story
Last year when I had the mini roundup in October 2 attendees exclaimed their surprise at seeing pigs out in the field. Magnolia Blossom and I thought they meant the hogs were running loose down the highway. No, they were out in the field. It could have
been the wine at lunch that made calling these pastured pigs free-ranging pigs so amusing. So imagine my surprise and the chuckling when I found this recipe.
Can you imagine, Free Range Fruitcake, Magnolia blossom? I can only wonder how far a Free Range Fruitcake could fly in a fruitcake chunkin' contest.
No matter how interesting my fact-finding was, I still felt like the unnamed character that Sam-I-Am pesters with his green eggs and ham. I feel I've hear it all. "Oh you will like this fruitcake this one is-less dense more like cake..more like bread
less like cake..." Or "this one has less nuts..different kinds of nuts...no nuts" And then there is that fruit factor. While reading about the different types of fruits used, I wondered if dried fruits would make any difference to me. Then I remembered
that one of my husband's favorite cakes is a spice cake laden with raisins. I made it once 10 years ago so that answered that question with a nay! I also ran across this term, glace cherries. Having seen the term before and assuming it meant frozen, I looked
into it. For those that weren't sure either-1. having a smooth glossy surface 2. covered with icing or sugar. In other words, maraschino cherries kicked up on sugar steroids. That brought a shudder out of me to think of maraschino cherries cooked even further
in a sugary syrup reduction. At the end, Dr. Seuss's poor pestered character relented and found he did like green eggs and ham. The same, however, will probably never be said for fruitcake and me!
To be well rounded with my research, I decided to include some data from a group of friends. Now, we know that Mike and his lovely wife love their fruitcake but what about others? My findings varied. Some disliked their dense round disks of cake enough
that they used them to feed the squirrels. Others like AR member Candice, who considered herself most fortunate to receive a Harvey fruitcake, hid hers in her bedroom. I won't say where in case any of her children are reading this. For those that have met
Candice, it is hard to believe that dear sweet lady not even sharing a Harvey fruitcake crumb with her fruitcake loving relatives. In all fairness, she did say there was other fruitcake available she just wasn't sharing Mike's! I'll put her down as a fruitcake
fanatic, I believe.
So in conclusion, I believe the fruitcake is here to stay. Forever invoking passionate debates. Inviting spirited discussions of likes and dislikes. With that being said, there is one thing we can probably all agree on this holiday season whether fruitcake
is a welcomed or dreaded addition to your table. Family, good friends, being happy and healthy are the most important things during the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!