Fruitcakes, we’ve all seen them in the movies or in grandma’s kitchen. The heavy and dark cake that looks like it went through seven stages of baking and sounds like a fist thumping against a wooden table when set down on a surface. Yet, there is a day made for it. That’s right, this day is called Fruitcake Day and it’s made for the celebration of the cake that we all seem to find synonymous with a brick.
History of Fruitcake Day
While none of us know the true creator of the fruitcake, many historians believe that fruitcakes originated from Rome, and one of the earliest recipes known comes from ancient Rome listing pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins that were mixed into a barley mash. Then there are records from the Middle Ages documenting that they added honey, spices, and preserved fruits into the original mix. Starting in the 16th century, sugar from the American Colonies along with the discovery that high concentrations of the sugar could preserve fruits, ended up creating an enormous excess of candied fruits, thus resulting in making fruit cakes more affordable and popular in regions around the world.
Fruitcakes have an incredible shelf life, they can remain on the shelves for many, many years and still be edible and non-harmful to the human body. An example of this is in a 2003 episode of The Tonight Show, where Jay Leno sampled a piece of a fruitcake baked in 1878 which was kept as an heirloom by a family in Michigan. For years now, the fruitcake has been a joke in American culture, being ridiculed for its name and how it appears. A recurring example of this can be found in a variety of television shows and movies, where the fruitcake will fall on a person’s body and they will complain about it being as hard as a brick.
How to celebrate Fruitcake Day
To celebrate this day is easy. Gather the family together in the kitchen and make the fruitcake together, with fruits and nuts that everyone will enjoy. Then, after the fruitcake is done baking, serve it up to everyone and perhaps huddle around on the couch to watch a holiday movie to add to the holiday spirit that surrounds the month of December. Fruitcake may have had a humble beginning somewhere, but as time goes on, the dish becomes more popular, and sometimes… Not in the way anyone would expect it to.
From Foodimentary.com: Five Food Finds about Fruitcake
- The Egyptians thought so much of these cakes that they put them in tombs. They thought that fruitcakes would survive the long journey to the afterlife.
- Even Crusaders knew that fruitcakes could withstand a long journey. Not only did these cakes withstand long journeys, but they were also full of nutritious items like dried fruit and nuts.
- Fruitcakes were the wedding cake of choice in England. Single female wedding guests would take a piece home and place it under their pillow in hopes of dreaming of the man they would marry.
- Fruitcake is perfectly edible as long as there is no mold on it.
- If your fruitcake dries out, soak it in alcohol or some other liquid and it will become as edible as it ever was.