Fruitcake
December 25, 2011 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Come the apocalypse, the only things that will survive are rats, cockroaches, seagulls, and fruitcake.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (37 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
We ate christmas pudding this year that we made last year.

Of course, that's how you're supposed to do it.

It was delicious.
posted by pts at 1:32 PM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Never underestimate the power of rum.
posted by mannequito at 2:03 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Keith Richards
posted by holdkris99 at 2:06 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sure this was given as a gift in 1941. "Thanks for the fruitcake, Uncle Charlie", they said, "it's a wonderful present. We're not hungry right now, but we'll eat it later."

The War continues. Sweets are rationed. "Hey, does anybody want to eat that fruitcake of Uncle Charlie's?" There are no takers. The bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. The War ends. The fruitcake sits in the basement.

Elvis swivels his hips. The Beatles record "Love Love Do". Hippies take LSD. Those were crazy times. But not crazy enough to eat that fruitcake.

Man lands on the moon, but the fruitcake stays in the basement.

Fruitcake. Always a present for the future.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:08 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I grew up in Corsicana, TX, home of Collin Street Bakery, probably the most famous fruitcake retailer in the world. I have a great fruitcake story I would tale but it is old and hard and been sitting in my grandma's pantry for about 25 years.
posted by holdkris99 at 2:09 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]




As this is a thread about fruitcake, I feel obligated to mention that the Southern-style fruitcake made at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, is some of the best around (to my mouth, anyway). They soak the cakes in peach brandy. I order some every year, and just finished it off earlier today.
posted by jquinby at 2:32 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


And Keith Richards

It still remains to be determined if Keith Richards is actually fruitcake and/or cockroach.

Whatever he is, we already know he's not human.
posted by loquacious at 2:38 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


My father made fruitcake that was freaking wonderful. We loved that stuff to death, ate it like crazy at Christmas.

I think the overall recipe was pretty similar to most fruitcakes, but his secret was to keep adding rum to the fruitcake as it sat. It took usually about a month for it to reach peak flavor. I'm not sure how much he added, but I know he'd visit the fruitcake once a week and 'top it off' with the rum bottle. By the time it was ready to eat, it moist, crumbly, and yummy enough to curl a toe or two. But it wasn't the best food at Christmas -- the mincemeat pie was even better, worthy of a full ten-toe curl.

From the fruitcake horror stories, I suspect that most of it must not get the proper rum treatment.
posted by Malor at 2:46 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go ahead and laugh, but the DeLuxe® Fruitcake from the Collin Street Bakery is delicious. A big slice of that and a cup of coffee is a wonderful breakfast.
posted by Daddy-O at 2:46 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My m-i-l presented me with a book that includes a recipe for Guinness fruit cake. Guess what SHE'S getting for Christmas next year?
posted by theplotchickens at 2:54 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fruitcake. Always a present for the future.

Fruitcake is the Brasil of desserts.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 3:34 PM on December 25, 2011


I have eaten food 20 years older than I am, but I'm not sure what the max shelf life for fruitcake is.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:48 PM on December 25, 2011


Rats, cockroaches, and seagulls live off of our waste, so they probably wouldn't survive without us. /not a fruitcake joke
posted by Auguris at 4:14 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having grown up in the UK with wonderful, moist, boozy homemade fruitcake, and thoroughly enjoying the commercial versions I've had here in the US that are absolutely crammed with dried fruit (e.g. Costco's), I really, really don't understand the "eww, hard dry fruitcake!" trope that exists here.

Is this just a tacit admission that American domestic bakers are out of their depths if their cakes aren't made from a boxed mix?
posted by kcds at 4:23 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The price: $29,000
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:45 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rats, cockroaches, and seagulls live off of our waste, so they probably wouldn't survive without us. /not a fruitcake joke

There was an interesting point about this in The World Without Us. Namely, that cockroaches wouldn't survive in, say NYC, more than a few years without humans around. Apparently, our fondness for climate control helps them hang around in a big way. Without people to keep the buildings warm and frost-free, they wouldn't survive more than a couple of frigid winters. In the warmer climes, however, this'd probably be a different story. However you feel about the little bastards, you have to admire a design that works.

kcds, I never understood it either. My grandmother's homemade fruitcake was also a fairly moist dessert that is probably chiefly responsible for my adult love of the stuff. I guess I could understand people not digging the texture of it, but I never could get behind the full-on hate.
posted by jquinby at 4:52 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tardigrades will win too.
posted by imperium at 5:05 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was an interesting point about this in The World Without Us. Namely, that cockroaches wouldn't survive in, say NYC, more than a few years without humans around. Apparently, our fondness for climate control helps them hang around in a big way. Without people to keep the buildings warm and frost-free, they wouldn't survive more than a couple of frigid winters. In the warmer climes, however, this'd probably be a different story. However you feel about the little bastards, you have to admire a design that works.


Likewise, Weisman points out that without a steady supply of human-produced garbage, rats go hungry and when they begin scavenging abraod more widely, they become easy prey for birds of prey. Their success is tied to ours, and lacking us, they play an exciting new part in the food chain.

kcds, I never understood it either. My grandmother's homemade fruitcake was also a fairly moist dessert that is probably chiefly responsible for my adult love of the stuff. I guess I could understand people not digging the texture of it, but I never could get behind the full-on hate.

With you 100%. People dislike fruitcake because they never had my grandmother's fruitcake, which was light and airy and sweet and perfect. I knew someone once who was looking for a good recipe for Christmas cake, so I allowed that Grandmother Biscuit was a dab hand at it. He asked if I could get the recipe for him. I called my grandmother:

"Hi, Gram, I was wondering if I could get your fruitcake recipe?"

"All right, but I warn you, it can be a lot of work."

"That is okay."

"Okay," she said, "first you need a half-pound of raisins." I wrote this down. "Then you have to cut each raisin into thirds." I stopped writing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:06 PM on December 25, 2011 [20 favorites]


You can't make a fruitcake without maraschino cherries. And I don't eat maraschino cherries, because I know how they're made.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:10 PM on December 25, 2011


I wondered why the poster picked the article from FoxNews.com when every news media entity had the same story. Then I noticed the reference to "rats, cockroaches, seagulls" and realized that perfectly described the FoxNews personnel.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:17 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I noticed the reference to "rats, cockroaches, seagulls" and realized that perfectly described the FoxNews personnel.

See Definition 2. You could have stopped at "fruitcake".
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:37 PM on December 25, 2011


I don't eat maraschino cherries, because I know how they're made.

?
posted by ryanrs at 5:44 PM on December 25, 2011


I don't eat maraschino cherries, because I know how they're made.

?


Please don't tell. I like fruitcake, I like maraschino cherries, and I don't want to know that they're made with rat vomit or kitten blood or whatever. It's the holidays. Do me a solid and let me live in ignorance.

Sweet, sticky ignorance.
posted by amy lecteur at 5:51 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's the difference between a Christmas tree and a Christmas cake?
Well, if you were stuck on a desert island with nothing else, and you were starving, and you absolutely had to...you could eat a Christmas tree.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 5:53 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maraschino cherries were originally soaked in 70-proof Maraschino cordial made from the juice of the Italian Dalmatian marasca wild cherry. Nowadays, the commercial maraschino cherries we know are put into a brining liquid of sodium metabisulfate, calcium chloride, and citric acid; soaked in corn syrup and fructose solution; then artificially flavored and colored either red or green.

G-ma used to make her own maraschino cherries for fruitcake, as well as pick and dry the currents and do something or other with with citrus. She'd make them the first of October and baste them till Christmas in booze. On Christmas Even you could put the kids to bed early with that stuff. Best dang fruitcake evar! The cooks of her generation KNEW a fruitcake. The junk you get commercially is more like Pratchett's dwarf bread--rock hard and tastes like gravel.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:17 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dammit! I've never even TRIED fruitcake ever, but NOW I'm suddenly craving a taste. Do you think the 24-hour CVS drugstore down the street has them? They'd probably be 50% off by now!
posted by orme at 6:51 PM on December 25, 2011


70 proof stuff, Sounds suspiciously like that noblest member of the Rakija family, Maraskino! God how I love Maraschino! And yes, preserving your Maraschino cherries with that stuff, they would be Da Bomb!
I am a lover of fruitcake. The Corsicana stuff is awesome and so is that stuff from Holy Trinity in Georgia. I have had the great pleasure of eating both. I used to have a slice or two at breakfast as I nursed my now grown daughter. I'm pretty sure it's why she turned out so nice! ت
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:55 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, marachino cherries are dyed with Red No. 4, which was banned in 1960.

The ban on Red Number 4 was lifted in 1965 to allow the coloring of maraschino cherries, which is considered mainly decorative and not a foodstuff.


Um, but we eat them.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:27 PM on December 25, 2011


Yeah, they used #4 in 1965. I challenge you to find maraschino cherries that use it today.
posted by ryanrs at 8:54 PM on December 25, 2011


It still remains to be determined if Keith Richards is actually fruitcake and/or cockroach.

Whatever he is, we already know he's not human.
We can't even be sure he's alive. He may be the vanguard of the Zombie Apocalypse. After which only rats and cockroaches and...
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:59 PM on December 25, 2011


Black cake is often made with dried cherries, not maraschino cherries, and is superior to fruitcake in every other way as well.
Because of the soaking of the fruit and the use of brown sugar and a bittersweet caramel called browning, black cake is to American fruitcake as dark chocolate is to milk chocolate: darker, deeper and altogether more absorbing.

Just before baking, the softened soaked fruit is ground to a wine-sweet paste that gives the cake its profound flavor; the grinding also eliminates the hard fruit chunks that traumatize many eaters of fruitcake. Black cake is often encased in hard white icing but is never decorated with bright, gummy glacé cherries: its dark, loamy crumb is considered beautiful in its own right.

“I’m not really feeling the American fruitcake,” Melva Nelson, who grew up in Clarendon, Jamaica, said politely. “The fruit is a little too dense, and there isn’t as much of it.” Ms. Nelson, now a nanny in Brooklyn, marinates her fruit for a year, then steams and chops it so it dissolves completely into the cake.
posted by maudlin at 9:12 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the Stuckey's Pecan Log from the 80's sitting on my shelf will weather the apocalypse just fine, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:25 PM on December 25, 2011


Jay Leno eats 125-year-old fruitcake.

He thought it might have a relevant joke in it he could use.
posted by anothermug at 9:51 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I made my first fruitcake this year using the Alton Brown recipe, which uses dried fruit (soaked in rum) instead of candied fruit and is basted in brandy. I aged it about six weeks.

It turned out moist and delicious. I plan to make twice as much next year.
posted by aabbbiee at 3:12 PM on December 26, 2011


aabbbiee: I made my first fruitcake this year using the Alton Brown recipe, which uses dried fruit (soaked in rum) instead of candied fruit and is basted in brandy. I aged it about six weeks.

It turned out moist and delicious. I plan to make twice as much next year.


I've been making AB's fruitcakes for a few years now, and yeah they're delicious. I used dark rum (Meyer's) instead of gold rum; I think that gives it an extra depth and character.
posted by destrius at 6:39 PM on December 26, 2011


December 25, 2011 3:26 PM

Aw, you couldn't wait two more days to post this on National Fruitcake Day? :(

(Also, looking at the related posts, I love how this is the third post running with the minimalist title "Fruitcake.")
posted by Rhaomi at 12:17 PM on December 27, 2011


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