Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas baking: an expression of thankfulness

Today my friend G. and I baked fruitcake together, as we do most years. Eating good fruitcake makes me feel very lucky. Making it with a dear friend is even better.

We set our dried fruit (raisins assorted, currants, dates, figs, dried cherries) to soak in rum in advance, then make our dark fruitcake with generous amounts of butter, brown sugar, eggs, and spices. Now it shall age, but first comes a bath of more spirits.

I think it is a travesty that fruitcake has become so despised by so many. I imagine a time when food was scarce, when spices brought from afar were a special luxury, when eggs weren't abundant year-round, and when sugar was a special treat, and when distillation was a special sort of alchemy - and suddenly fruitcake comes to encapsulate something special, luxurious, and wonderful.

1 comment:

Shipbound said...

My father's mother made this heavenly no-egg fruit cake which she would soak in rum for up to 6 months before the holidays. I could have eaten an entire one in a single sitting. We would keep them in the freezer, wrapped in rum-soaked cheese cloths, and dole out delicious slivers, being careful not to make the pieces too big lest we run out all too soon. My Grandmother died in 92, and I have not had any since then (no one in my family has dared make it...), but even just imagining tasting it puts me in the christmas spirit.