Monday, December 15, 2008

Fruitcake

A friend sent me an inflatable fruitcake for Christmas. She meant it as a joke, and I truly love it, but what she didn't know is that real fruitcake is one of my absolute favorite foods. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm in the minority on this issue, but ever since I was a child I've been passionate about that much-maligned Christmas treat. When I was a kid, one of my dad's business acquaintances gave us a fruitcake every year. My father would pour rum all over it and reseal it in the tin in which it came. Then, a year later, we'd eat it. We'd repeat this each year. I'm sure it was my first introduction to alcohol, but I guess my folks figured that after a year it wouldn't have much potency. (Note: I think they were wrong.) My mom didn't like fruitcake, so my dad and I would polish off the whole thing between Christmas and New Years. I try not to keep fruitcake in the house now because I honestly could eat the whole thing in one sitting. It's important to note that I'm NOT talking about those nouveau "healthy" fruitcakes that just have dates and a few nuts in them. I must have the old-fashioned kind, heavy as a lead brick, and chock full of neon green and red chunks of candied fruit. It's making me hungry just to write about this, so I'm glad that now I have a beautiful, completely calorie-free, air-filled plastic replica to worship. Thanks, Sandy!
On the subject of baked goods, I have decided I must be the world's worst cookie baker. I'm actually a very good cook (or so I'm told), and I even taught cooking for a while, but when it comes to cookies, I have some sort of mental block. All I want to do this year is make a respectable assortment of cookies to give to all the nice people at my dialysis unit. But it's becoming a project rife with defeat and discouragement. The Amaretto cookies I made a week ago were 100% tasteless. I followed the recipe precisely, but later I realized that the recipe left out the Amaretto and I failed to notice! No wonder they tasted like a cardboard box. Then last week I made some Chocolate Espresso Balls, similar to chocolate truffles. They taste great, but as soon as I remove them from the fridge they turn into tiny pools of melted chocolate. How am I going to get them to the hospital without dry ice? Forget that! Today I'm making Raspberry Bars, which I've made many times before. I think they might be ok (except for those burned pecans on top). Oops! Tomorrow I plan to make Chocolate Macaroons. There are only three ingredients, but if there's a way to screw them up, I'll find it. I feel like drowning my sorrows in a 5 lb. fruitcake!

12 comments:

redforkhippie said...

My mother and I are of the opinion that candied fruit is squarely to blame for fruitcake's bad reputation. Mom makes hers with dried fruit, and it's amazing.

Speaking of which, she gave me an entire fruitcake last time I was home. If you are very nice to me, some of it might find its way to your house. :)

babbsela said...

So you are the person who eats them!

Someone sent me a link today to a foam fruitake. IMO, much more edible than the real thing.

~Kathryn~ said...

how do americans make fruit cake ... lol that isn't a trick question .. but is it just baked or boiled up first ??

I use my grandmothers recipe (she was from the UK) and it is a boiled fruitcake .... it comes out soooooo moist and YUMMO

Laurel said...

Sorry, Emily, but it's the candied fruit that makes it a true fruitcake in my opinion. The cake part and the nuts are just a vehicle for getting the candied fruit into my mouth. If I thought it was not so barbarian, I'd just eat a container of the candied fruit (particularly the citron) and bypass the cake altogether. (On the other hand, I'd love to have a taste of your mom's FC. Maybe she'll change my mind.)

Laurel said...

Kat.... boiled fruitcake! Very interesting! It doesn't have Vegemite in it, does it? :-) Now I'm curious, so I'll be searching the internet for a boiled fruitcake recipe today.

Laurel said...

Babbsela... can you give me the URL for the foam fruitcake site??

Trevor Hilton said...

You know, Laurel, that although the New Testament ommits it, there was a 4th Wise Man who was rejected because he brought Jesus a fruit cake!

Beth said...

I haven't had fruitcake for years, but I remember liking it okay when I was a kid. I definitely don't have the cravings for it that you're having, though!

I hope the cookie-baking went better!

Ron McCoy said...

"Fruitcakes make ideal gifts because the Postal Service has been unable to find a way to damage them." - Dave Barry

Ron

Laurel said...

Beth... thank goodness somebody else doesn't hate fruitcake! I feel somewhat vindicated. :-)

Trevor... I doubt Jesus had the bad taste to turn down a delicious fruitcake. They could have saved it until the baby Jesus was old enough to eat it, and by then it would have aged to perfection. LOL!

Ron.... Indestructablity is just another of fruitcake's charms. :-)

redforkhippie said...

Laurel, you are a Ya-Ya. Part of the same bunch that has been known to turn a certain peanut-butter dessert into performance art ... the same bunch that eats chocolate fondue with a spoon instead of a forkful of fruit ... the same bunch that dips chocolate-covered graham crackers in a tub of cheesecake filling instead of bothering with the pretense of a crust ... and you're concerned that eating a bowl of candied fruit might be considered barbaric? Please.

If you're worried it's not fancy enough, douse it with brandy and light it on fire. Flambe equals instant class. :)

Pat Bremer said...

If you've never tried Texas Manor fruitcake from the Ya-Hoo Baking Company, let this be the year you try it! We used to sell this stuff in band 20-some years ago and it's THE BEST anywhere! I'm getting my order in tomorrow...err..today, as it's 1:05am...for my dad & I (he's easy to please). URL: http://www.yahoocake.com/cgi-bin/yahoo/texas-manor-fruitcake.htm