A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window.
She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a
summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen;
but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched.
Her face is remarkable--not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that, and
tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate, too, finely boned, and her
eyes are sherry-colored and timid. "Oh my", she exclaims, her
breath smoking the windowpane, "it's fruitcake weather!"
from A Christmas Memory, 1956, Truman Capote
I've seen quite a few posts on fruitcake this season. And it's almost
making me hungry for it. Almost. Most of us have them in our
holiday memories as vile dry Styrofoam slices, full of more bitter
candied fruit than cake, wrapped in foil, hardening in the back of the
fridge. I think I'll try one out and create my own new millennium
fruitcake tradition. This recipe of Alton Brown's looks good. I've
never made one of his recipes that didn't become an instant Manor
favorite. Click [here] for the recipe. Blog Princess G's fruitcake looks
amazing, though, and I am leaning towards her recipe. Click [here]
for a look. And Bee Drunken has several delectable recipes posted
on her blog. They all sound good; click [here]. I don't know. Libras
can never decide.
Hey thanks for a great hit.Keep doing great stuff.ReplyDelete
the fruitcakes of today are so much better than back when i was a child! but still it's hard to put those old memories aside! can't wait to see which one you pick!! photos, please?!ReplyDelete
Those look great actually. Poor fruitcake! So maligned!ReplyDelete
My brother says it's not about my being an indecisive Libra, rather it's my wanting everything! Too true!
I think I'd choose Bee Drunken's recipe...how could one go wrong with a recipe orginating from a name like that.ReplyDelete
My mother made a fruitcake that everyone swore was the best they'd ever tasted. I wouldn't know, because I've never been a great fan of any kind of spice cake or bread. And even though she wrote the recipe down for me and I have it in my box of recipes passed down to me from her, I've never made it. Besides the fact that I don't like it, it's very expensive to make!ReplyDelete
Alot of people thought Truman Capote was a fruitcake. I was just re-reading his short story, 'My Side of the Matter'...he was no fruitcake when it came to writing. I am in awe of his talent as a writer. Now I need to re-read 'A Christmas Memory'. Thanks for reminding me.ReplyDelete
Yeah, and with those gorgeous recipes how am I to make a choice?ReplyDelete
I think I'm with Comedy Goddess, why settle for just one?
Clapping Hands, I adore Capote's masterful writing. He was truly a genius.ReplyDelete
I could offer you a slice or fruitcake but first I would have to go to the store to buy one. No, that won't work since I'm clueless concerning who sells fruitcakes. I think fruitcakes are urban myrhs.ReplyDelete
Many years ago I made a fruitcake. I can't remember where I got the recipe. It had to sit 2 weeks wrapped in cheesecloth soaked in whiskey. It smelled wonderful. I thought it tasted wonderful, but I was the only one in the family that liked it. Lucky me. I had it all to myself and ate a little of it for a long, long time.ReplyDelete
I used to make two kinds of fruitcake (with raisins and without) and convert non fruitcake eaters. A basic recipe with the flour and fruit, none of the ones that are mostly flour or mostly fruit, this is about 1/3 cake and 2/3 fruit. I'd peel the oranges, juice them and cook rinds in whiskey and sugar, same for the grapefruit, cherries and pineapple from a can, boiled with the whiskey and sugar. The version with the raisins had them boiled with the whiskey and sugar also. Then just proceed with the cake leaving out a little of the moisture depending on how far down you boiled your fruit. Keep in a cool room and keep soaking with whatever liquor you chose. THAT is fruitcake for the gods.ReplyDelete
I'm laughing at your description of it hard and dried at the back of the fridge--that's about right for a lot of fruitcakes. Joe actually likes fruitcake which amazes me, since he's usually pretty finicky (but he doesn't think he is--you know--one of THOSE) I, on the other hand, love to try new foods and these that you linked here all look delicious to me. I'll wait to hear what you think of the one you select--I'd like to try one of 'em...keep us posted!ReplyDelete
YUM fruitcake- MY fav! My Mother would start making it in the summer and weekly go down unwrap each one and pour about a pint of brandy on each...By the time christmas rolled around we didn't care that the cakes were weird- one bite put the day right! Nevermind the taste!ReplyDelete
Willow, I am humbled, I thought I could easily review these three recipes and give you my choice, after all I'm a Scorpio, my DNA is connected to a Scandinavian Grandfather baker and an Aunt who let me play in the back of her bakery! All three recipes are wonderful in very different ways...I'm sorry, you're on your own on this one...let me know which one you choose!ReplyDelete
Willow - I made my first Black Cake this weekend! Full report to follow in a day or two. In fact, I was just thinking about having a little piece . . .ReplyDelete
As for the Capote story, I must look that up: You are the second "friend" (may I call you that?) to recommend it this festive season.
I remember someone giving us a fruitcake as a child, but I don't remember tasting it. The only fruitcake that I remember tasting was my mother-in-law's. It was a special memory for me, and I haven't been able to taste one since she passed on. I will have to try one of these recipes in her memory. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I'm not a big fruitcake fan but my grandmother used to make fruitcake cookies that I loved. The little cookies were "just enough." I wish I had her recipe!ReplyDelete
Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory is my own personal little Christmas tradition - I watch the movie every year - actually tasted some fruit cake I liked last year - it was more raisiny I think.ReplyDelete
Nigella Lawson has one that I've been intending to make. But...where's the time going????ReplyDelete
The first Capote I read was 'In Cold Blood' which gave me such a wrong impression of him as a writer. When I found his earlier novels and stories i was astonished and completely taken with him.ReplyDelete
My mom made a wonderful fruitcake filled with nuts and doused in rum. Alas I do not have the recipe.
Ohhhhhh, why did I not know that Libra's are indecisive????? So that's my problem. I thought it was a character flaw. Hmmmmm......
This is one of my favorite stories - was going to do a post about it - you pipped me at the post.ReplyDelete
Used to have the kids (9th graders) draw pictures while I read to them........
Sadly, I totally hate the taste of fruitcake though my mother made a good one - according to those who know about these things.....
Dried fruit is so sad in comparison with REAL fruit.
A Christmas Memory is one of my favorite Capote treasures. What a talent he was.ReplyDelete
I like fruitcake.
I think today qualified as a fruitcake day.
My roommate and I made little fruitcakes a few years ago. They were delicious because we used top notch ingredients (including the brandy). We included yummy stuff like candied ginger. They were so good. Every recipient of our cakes asked for more.ReplyDelete
Libras unite and embrace our indecision! Hee hee. Well, we tried the first piece of cake tonight and, well, we all had seconds. Whatever recipe you make, Willow, I'm looking forward to seeing the lovely pic!ReplyDelete
I happen to have a piece of fruitcake with me for my mid-morning sustenance. It was made by a friend and tastes delicious. It is a boiled version and I can certainly recommend it.
I wonder if you're familiar with the Scots 'Black Bun'? - a dense fruit mixture wrapped in pastry, which they eat at Hogmanay.
I love fruitcake - I took a look at the Alton Brown recipe but the minute I saw 'dried blueberries' I knew it wasn't aimed at someone who lives and shops in provincial France.ReplyDelete
You'd probably be shocked at the things we've learnt to live without here.
Great post, willow. You need never fear about keeping your readers interested - you've got the knack.
There are some really good fruitcakes, and it takes one to know one. :) PappyReplyDelete
I've never made one of Alton Brown's recipes but they always look great.ReplyDelete
Ah..fruitcake...The ultimate love/hate food. Now,Christmas/English Rocks. that's another story all together..Love them.
I haven't read Capote's 'A Christmas memory', so thank you for this paragraph.ReplyDelete
As to fruit cake, I love it, of course!
Great choice. Sets the memory in motion!ReplyDelete
For a damn fine fruitcake go to http://www.gethsemanifarms.org/. I get mine there every year. I saw Alton Brown's free range fruitcake episode and I keep telling myself I'm going to make it myself some day but I haven't as yet.ReplyDelete
Lovely post about fruitcake Willow. I'm as nutty as a fruitcake..does that count?ReplyDelete
Love Molly x
PS - I've a fab photo over on Molly's Mellow Moments, that you would just adore! Come, take a peep!
They have made this book into a movie and I just watched it. What an interesting story and a very memorable line.ReplyDelete
Of course, it wouldn't be a proper fruitcake without Mr. Haha's moonshine..... What a beautiful autobiographical story. The joy is in the journey of it, no?ReplyDelete
"Inside myself, I feel warm and sparky as those crumbling logs, carefree as the wind in the chimney. My friend waltzes round the stove, the hem of her poor calico skirt pinched between her fingers as though it were a party dress: Show me the way to go home, she sings, her tennis shoes squeaking on the floor. Show me the way to go home..."
(I'll bring over the jelly glasses...)
I remember my mother starting her fruitcake in late September, and putting all the ingredients into a crock with a lid that sat on a darkened shelf. Once a week it was fed a cup of brandy to keep it moist. Hers were the best, and I haven't been able to find a commercial fruitcake to match it. Probably because of the preservatives.ReplyDelete
Great Capote quote! "...small and sprightly, like a bantam hen" - amazing image.ReplyDelete
I like the first two recipes because they don't use the candied peels. Good luck with your fruitcake!
I love that story of Truman Capote's, it takes me right back to childhood and unleashes my own memories somehow...ReplyDelete
Wow. Thanks for reminding me of A Christmas Memory. I always loved that story and will have to re-read it this Christmas.ReplyDelete
AT my school each year around Christmas we read the fruitcake story. I thought it was cool that you mentioned it.