Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Fruitcake for All Seasons

I always thought there was a connection. There had to be. After all, how else could every season have a different version of the same offensive food item? I also found a country of origin, thus confirming all the stereotypical jokes and stories about the British and their lack of culinary skills. Apologies are added here for any of my "former" friends of British heritage, but alas, read on and you too shall be vindicated. Fruitcake was said to have been first served during Victorian high tea or served for Royal Tea as it were. If it was fit for royalty, can it be all bad?

I have always believed that the jokes about fruitcake were warranted. For example, "fruitcake is said to be loved by seniors whose tastebuds have long since worn out" or "there are only 11 people in the world who like fruitcake", "fruitcake lasts indefinitely and can be used as bricks for a house" and so on. There are derogatory terms such as "nutty as a fruitcake".

Last week, hubby announced that he was making a fruitcake.

"It's too late" said one of my friends. "It has to be made no later than November" so that it might soak in its....ahem....juices. Ah yes, the juices...a waste of perfectly good liquor I might add.

Hubby was not to be dissuaded. The bulk food store was visited, candied everything was purchased, the labour intensive fruitcake was assembled and placed lovingly into the oven for 3 hours. I noted that the contents were not only costly and calorie laden, but some were actually nutritious and loaded with fibre. I must also admit that it didn't smell too bad. In fact, it smelled pretty good.

After completing further research I decided I'd better ease off on the British...and fast. I have never liked the German stollen, different consistency but similar contents and apparently, there's some kind of Italian version of fruitcake called panettone. In fact, thanks to a recent episode of "Jeopardy" I have been set straight. Can you believe that they had an entire category entitled "Fruitcake"? Alex Trebek clearly stated that fruitcake came from the Ottoman Empire, was called "gugelhopf" and so it was actually a German delicacy. Alex is always right. After all, he is a Canadian. I am now imagining however, that since fruitcake has been around for such a long time, perhaps it was also used as something akin to cannon fodder.

This got me thinking. Are hot cross buns just and Easter version of fruitcake? What about spumoni ice cream....summer fruitcake? Connections were being made. The closest thing for autumn that my memory banks could retrieve was mince pie. I'm not certain that there's any similarity except in my mind and my taste buds.

On the other hand, I am currently consuming steroids and anyone who has had the pleasure will understand that any and all available food is fair game. I have eaten items that I have never enjoyed or even considered edible just because they exist. I have counted no calories, because it's futile to continue once I know I've passed the 3000 mark. I have even eyed the dog a few times as she's unsuspectingly walked by during one of my hunger binges.

I have tasted, yes, even eaten some of hubby's homemade fruitcake. I have asked for seconds. Today I say fruitcake is good. I like the fruitcake I do, I do. But ask me again in a week or two.

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