This post comes to us courtesy of Yvonne Dae Morrissey, of the family-owned Gramma Ramsey’s Specialty Fruitcakes.
Every year for the last 20 years, I’ve made fruitcakes as holiday gifts. You have no idea how many bad jokes I hear when I tell people that my fruitcake is the gift of choice of my family and friends.
Many blame the much maligned fruitcake’s reputation on Johnny Carson. Back in December 1985, Johnny told his late night TV audience that there is only one fruitcake in the world, it is very heavy, and people keep sending it to each other.
From there it gets worse. You know: fruitcake as doorstop. And did you know that every January a “Great Fruitcake Toss” is held in Manitou Springs, Colorado? The object, of course, is to throw a fruitcake as far as possible, sometimes even using catapults!
Fruitcakes have been around forever. Literally, forever. In biblical times, Moses ate fruitcakes. The Romans ate fruitcakes. In fact, didn’t they find one in Tutankhamen’s tomb? Not surprising, given that fruitcake has an incredible shelf life due to its sugar content.
Here in the U.S., we’re told by What’s Cooking America that the fruitcake’s popularity peaked between 1837 and 1901. Today, there is actually a “Society for the Protection and Preservation of the Fruitcake” — totally dedicated to providing information and links about fruitcake. Even more amazing is that “fruitcake” is Googled more than 246,000 times a month! Sounds pretty popular to me.
As an established fruitcake baker, I am often asked why fruitcake has such a bad rap. Well, many of us have only eaten bad fruitcake. BAD. BAD. BAD. There are so many bad fruitcakes on the market that its reputation is understandable.
It’s all about the recipe…the ingredients…and using time-honored, somewhat labor intensive techniques. In this blog, I’ll share my expertise with you so that you no longer cringe when you hear the word “fruitcake.” And because fruitcake should generally be baked weeks before it’s going to be served, next post we’ll get started.
In the meantime, got a good fruitcake joke you’d like to share?
About the author: Yvonne, a graduate in Home Economics, has been baking fruitcakes for nearly 20 years. From this family tradition, Yvonne started a baking company specializing in gourmet, brandy-soaked fruitcakes. Using her family’s 100-year old recipe with quality ingredients and time-honored techniques, Yvonne is on a mission to convert modern day fruitcake naysayers to lovers…one bite at a time. Yvonne, who is also a marketing consultant for a Fortune 100 company, has lived in Europe, India and the Philippines, and currently has a home in Door County, WI.