Christmas In July- Behind the Fruitcake

A little background on, The Fruitcake.

Fruitcake - High Resolution
First, it’s not about a crazy person. Although, the grandfather does overact a bit over fruitcakes. The story actually evolved out of a real event that occurred when I was in high school. I don’t want to give too much away. I’ll just say it’s loosely based on fact. Replace the grandfather/grandson with board teenagers.
There is a misconception that I do not appreciate/like fruitcake. That’s not entirely true. I like good fruitcake. I hate bad fruitcake. Good fruitcake is made with dried fruits and nuts, and uses unnaturally colored cherries for decoration only. Bad fruitcake is… the opposite. It’s like cheap flip flops, you know it when you see it.

Making Fruitcake.

My Grandmother made fruitcake every year for Christmas. It was a dark cake with the traditional sugared fruits and bright cherries. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t Christmas without it. As she grew older, I started to make fruitcake, using her recipe. After a try or two, I switched out the traditional fruit for real dried fruit. Talk about a light bulb moment. It was wonderful.
When you decide to make fruitcake, it’s not a simple endeavor. It’s a huge commitment. I’m talking- clear the entire day of anything and mark it on the calendar type of commitment. My grandmother’s recipe takes 3 bowls large enough to bathe a great dane. It also takes time. Most of the day. The recipe makes 3 cakes, and cooks slowly. I usually take one cake to my in-laws and cook it there. I’m nice and let them keep it.
The directions on my grandmother’s recipe calls for pouring sherry over the cooled bread. I find that funny, I’m Baptist and my parents and grandparents were teetotalers. My dad says, the recipes came from my great grandmother, who did pour sherry over the cakes. Of course this is the same woman I hear stories about loving wrestling to the point of hostility when told it was fake.
I don’t make fruitcake every year. Most years, I buy cute little cupcakes from a local bakery. I nearly pass out from the cost, but it saves me a day in the kitchen. I go around to family members who adore the heavy cake and fill their stockings. It makes them happy. Do I eat it…no. Not usually.

Is there a Christmas treat your family loves that is not your favorite?

CK

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