Americans love to hate things. We love to hate on Pintastic bloggers who make even paper bags look adorable. We love to hate our favorite fast food, but we eat it anyway. And we love, love, love to hate on some fruitcake.
I like to think myself impartial. My dad loved fruitcake with a passion. He'd wait all year for someone (and there was always someone) to gift him one of those rectangular logs of shiny, fruit-and-nutty cake. My mom never commented either way, so, by deep scientific reasoning, it's not in my nature (or nurture!) to hate on fruitcake.
Disclaimer: We did have a family dog who found a wrapped fruitcake under the tree. He ate the entire cake, leaving a pile of nuts that he spit out as he ate the rest of the treat. Smart dog.
So why the hate? Maybe it's because it takes so long to make the real thing. As one of our fruitcake recipes says, "Ideally, fruitcake should be made at least a month before you plan to serve it, but it will last for several months when stored tightly wrapped in the fridge."
Say what? #aintnobodygottimeforthat. Unless you do, in which case we're Pintastically hating on you.
For this Throwback Thursday, we're going way back. Historically, fruitcake has a storied past. Some claim that Egyptians left it in tombs as food for loved ones in the afterlife. Creepy, yes, but perhaps the earliest iteration of the fruit-and-nut bar. Roman soldiers carried it into battle, thankful for its long shelf life.
TLC tells the tale of a long-forgotten fruitcake, "Recent centuries have seen fruitcake continue as a popular item to send to soldiers. One former soldier, Lance Nesta, rediscovered a fruitcake gifted to him in 1962 when he was stationed in Alaska. He had forgotten about the loaf, and it ended up in his mother's attic, where he found it 40 years later, claiming that at the time of receiving the present, 'I opened it up and didn't know what to do with it. I sure wasn't going to eat it, and I liked my fellow soldiers too much to share it with them'"
Googling "Why people hate fruitcake" will get you over 500,000 returns, way more than the auto-filled "Why people hate fedoras" (only 104,000). The answers weren't groundbreaking. Some people have texture issues with squishy fruit and chewy nuts. Others have ingrained dislike based on Johnny Carson's regifting-the-fruitcake jokes ("The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other."). Or, as one Yahoo user said, "It's not that they hate fruit cake it's just considered the worst gift ever, it's the last resort to not being a [mean person] but you're still a [mean person] for bringing the fruit cake."
This season, in the spirit of giving, give yourself the gift of giving fruitcake another chance. Skip the store-bought cakes and make the cake, or cookies, yourself. There's even a slice-and-bake version to make your life easier.
What recipes do you want to learn about? Come back each Thursday as we revisit the classics in our recipe collection!