It’s hard to think about the vacation season with no residence filled with sweets. Pumpkin pies, sugar cookies minimize into the shapes of gingerbread men, snowflakes, peppermint bark, and fudge are all an essential part of Christmas and make nice do-it-yourself presents for the loved ones in your life.
Whereas the primary-ever joke about fruitcake is tough to pin down, based on Michael Krondl, meals historian and creator of “Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert,” this conventional dessert is a punchline as a result of overtime the issues that historically made it scrumptious — laborious-to-discover dried fruits and loads of alcohol — have been eliminated, leaving a dry, fake confection that’s actually onerous to swallow.
Whereas fruitcakes, as we speak, are dry and artificial tasting, it didn’t was once this fashion. In line with Krondl, one of many oldest extant dessert recipes is for a Babylonian meal that resembles a fruitcake. Sugar was costly and exhausting to seek out, so Middle Eastern bakers would use dried figs and dates to sweeten their bread and desserts.
Their stability and longer shelf life gave fruitcakes the particular designation of being the dessert of particular events. Weddings, election nights and, after all, the vacations have been celebrated with these holdovers from centuries in the past. Thank old-style household recipes and the way straightforward it’s to stack a dense cake, excellent for feeding a crowd.
The issues that when made fruitcake a luxurious — dried fruits, spices, and a dense bread-like dough — are usually not solely out of style with trendy tastes, they’re actually the identical issues that now make it unpalatable. Thank the convenience of delivery these confections throughout the nation — which is also how we get to fruitcakes being a late-evening punchline.
Regardless of its wealthy historical past, the fruitcake is an American joke as we speak, thanks largely as a result of trendy recipes simply aren’t very tasty. And whether or not you spend your Christmas consuming fruitcake or laughing at fruitcake, there’s no denying this dessert is a kind of classic holiday tradition.