The Fruitcake

‘Tis the season to question a few holiday food traditions. Why eat ham on Christmas day and not reindeer? While we’re at it, why put the cookies out for Santa when you could enjoy them for yourself? Moving past all of the cultural adaptations of the Christmas season, let’s take a closer look at the fruitcake, and how it came to be what it is now.

While I might not be the biggest fan of fruit, I am never one to turn down cake. However, labeling fruitcake as any sort of dessert delicacy is a gross misrepresentation of what “sweets” really are. Yet, obviously some people like fruitcake, otherwise the industry would have failed long ago.

But what IS fruitcake? The stereotype is a semi-gelatinous mold filled with floating god-knows-what chunks. However, after somewhat off-putting  research, I found that there are other under-appreciated fruitcakes out there that are less horrifying.

With one side of my family shamelessly Italian, I’ve spent many afternoons eating “Panetone,” which is an Italian fruitcake that comes in a box. This cake is more like a bell-shaped loaf of bread with assorted bits of dried fruit scattered within.

White Fruitcake” is made from pineapple, coconut, almonds, and a mystery ingredient called citron. Unsure of what citron was, I did a quick Google search and found that citron is “a fragrant citrus fruit.”

Most fruitcakes contain raisins, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other bits of fruit. Separately, each ingredient is nothing to gripe about, but something about the combination all in one “cake” is just entirely unappealing.

Fruitcake has fallen out of fashion as the years have passed. In classic Christmas tales of yore, never was a table without a fruitcake during the holiday season. But now? The fruitcake has been undermined to no more than a punchline or a degrading term best used towards someone rather… flamboyant.

Will fruitcake make a comeback and return to its former glory? Will our children, and our children’s children know a holiday season with fruitcake? I am hoping, for family reunions’ sake that fruitcake stays where it is – out of my house.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.