I sometimes scratch my head at the bad reputation fruitcakes seem to have. Through the years they’ve become the butt of jokes and even a subject for song parodies (like those below). But even though I know there have been a lot of — let’s say iffy — fruitcakes produced through the years, someone needs to speak in defense of the genus, and I nominate myself.
Like a lot of other things, my feelings about fruitcakes can be traced back to my childhood. Something filled with candied fruit and nuts was a real treat during the holidays, and I don’t remember ever turning up my nose at one.
My most vivid fruitcake memory is of my paternal grandfather going through what seemed to be an annual ceremony. This consisted of buying a good quality fruitcake, dribbling whiskey over the top, then wrapping it in wax paper and a tea towel, to ‘let it age’. Later, he’d carefully carve off thin slices for those who wanted them, then rewrap the fruitcake — possibly adding a few more drops of liquor if he felt it was needed.
I’m not sure if the alcohol evaporated before the fruitcake was actually eaten but the flavor was definitely still present, and it gave the whole process a deliciously taboo aspect for a kid. I liked it then and I like it now.
The Superions – “Fruitcake” (free download)