Fruitcake? More like fruit-YUCK!

You either love it or you hate it. Picture from https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/Fruitcake.htm
Other sources: https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/fruitcake1.htm

You either love it or you hate it. Picture from https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/Fruitcake.htm Other sources: https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/fruitcake1.htm

Uroob Saeed, Web Editor

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Fruitcake- the one thing people do not look forward this time of year. It’s hated by nearly everyone, yet it still manages to show up during the winter season. Where did the first fruit cake originate? What exactly is fruitcake? Were fruitcakes always this bad? Don’t worry, all questions regarding the horrid thing shall be answered. But brace yourself, for the history behind it may be even more perplexing than the food itself…

Fruitcake is a very dense cake composed of fruits and nuts that have been dried and soaked in sugar, some recipes including alcohol. Because of all the sugar, fruitcake can last a very long time, years even. The alcohol helps rid of bacteria, preventing the fruitcake from going bad. The first fruitcakes originated in Egypt, where the cake would be placed in the tombs of the deceased loved ones as a food that would be able to make the journey with them to the afterlife. In ancient Rome, one recipe called for pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and raisins that were mixed into a cake made of barley. In the Middle Ages, fruitcake made with honey, fruits, and spices was favored. Fruitcake symbolized a successful harvest in Europe.  Interestingly, the cake was banned in Europe for some time during the 18th century because it was thought to be too “sinfully rich.” In the 19th century, fruitcake was a popular wedding cake. In fact, unmarried wedding guests were encouraged to put a piece of the wedding cake under their pillow so that they would dream of the person they would marry.

Unfortunately, people today don’t have as much respect for fruitcake as they used to. Statistics show that 47% of people received fruitcake as a gift and threw it away and 11% planned to regift it. In some states such as Colorado, competitions are held to see which team can throw their fruitcakes the farthest and with the greatest accuracy. There are strong feelings towards fruitcake, most of which are negative. Senior Madison Stites said it looks like “throwup,” and senior Danielle Barnych described it in an interesting way. “[Fruitcake] looks like something someone found at the bottom of a dumpster, wrapped it up, and gave it to someone else.” On the other hand, Khuram Saeed actually likes fruitcake. “I love fruit and I love cake so I love fruitcake,” he says. Unfortunately, he is not able to bring it home because his wife ends up tossing it in the trash…

Clearly, fruitcake used to be more popular in the past than it is nowadays. Although this is the case, the food item is not likely to disappear anytime soon, especially during the winter season. Who knows, maybe someone will tweak the recipe so that it tastes better. Or not. At least the “fruitcake throwing” competitions will continue on!

 

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