Johnny Carson began the trend of fruitcake bashing with his comment that there was really only one fruitcake in the world, passed from family to family.
In 1996, Manitou Springs, Colorado started a Fruitcake Toss Day. A group of Boeing engineers, using the “Omega 380” machine they designed (a mock artillery piece fueled by compressed air pumped by an exercise bike) set the all-time toss record of 1,420 feet in January 2007. A total waste of good fruitcake imo.
It’s a shame poor fruitcakes get such a bad rap. Even if you can’t stand the taste, its history is fascinating. Did you know?
- December is “National Fruitcake Month.”
- Fruitcakes date back to the Romans who baked fruitcakes with pine nuts, barley mash, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and honeyed wine. When candied fruit was introduced, fruitcake became cheaper and more common.
- Fruitcakes get better with age. Cooks recommend fruitcakes be stored for at least a month before eating.
- An alcohol glaze of rum, brandy, or whisky not only enhances the flavor, it also extends the shelf life. Reportedly, a well-stored fruitcake will last 25 years.
- Fruitcake has long been a special occasion cake for British royalty.
Queen Victoria served a fruitcake at her wedding to Prince Albert. Prince William and Kate Middleton also choose fruitcake for their wedding, bringing the tradition into the 21st Century. According to this TIME article, slices of royalty wedding fruitcakes are auctioned for large sums.
- Mademoiselle magazine published Truman Capote’s short story “A Christmas Memory” in December 1956. The story begins with an eccentric woman in her sixties looking out her window one winter morning and announcing, “Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!” It’s often included in many Christmas story anthologies.You can check it out here
Interesting fact, Capote’s story is autobiographical according to this article.
- Fruitcakes can tell fortunes and bring good luck.
Single females who sleep with a piece of fruitcake under their pillow after a wedding will dream about their future husband.
Nut growers bake a fruitcake at the end of one growing season then eat at the end of the next season to ensure good luck and a successful harvest.I’m not alone in my fondness for fruitcake.
A bakery mail-order fruitcake began in 1913. My favorite Christmas fruitcake comes from Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas.
If you should receive a fruitcake for Christmas this year, please don’t toss it. Use the contact form here and let me know. I’ll gladly take it off your hands.
Photo Credit: Collins Street Bakery