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The history of fruitcake & The Fruitcake Lady

by BusinessLife (writer), The Carolinas, December 06, 2010

Credit: Catherine Ledner
How do you use a fruitcake?
watch the video

Whether you like it or not, fruitcake is sure to be a topic around the holiday season. What do you consider to be the best use of fruitcake? Share your best ideas.

The oldest reference that can be found regarding a fruitcake dates back to Roman times. The recipe included pomegranate seeds. Pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. Honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added during the Middle Ages. Crusaders and hunters were reported to have carried this type of cake to sustain themselves over long periods of time away from home.

1400s - The British began their love affair with fruitcake when dried fruits from the Mediterranean first arrived.

1700s - In Europe, a ceremonial type of fruitcake was baked at the end of the nut harvest and saved and eaten the next year to celebrate the beginning of the next harvest, hoping it will bring them another successful harvest. After the harvest, nuts were mixed and made into a fruitcake that was saved until the following year. At that time, previous year's fruitcakes were consumed in the hope that its symbolism would bring the blessing of another successful harvest

In the early 18th century, fruitcake (called plum cakes) was outlawed entirely throughout Continental Europe. These cakes were considered as "sinfully rich." By the end of the 18th century there were laws restricting the use of plum cake.

Between 1837 and 1901, fruitcake was extremely popular. A Victorian "Tea" would not have been complete without the addition of the fruitcake to the sweet and savory spread. Queen Victoria is said to have waited a year to eat a fruitcake she received for her birthday because she felt it showed restraint, moderation and good taste.

It was the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.

The name "fruitcake" can be traced back only as far as the Middle Ages. It is formed from a combination of the Latin fructus, and French frui or frug.

In other fruitcake findings, you may get a chuckle out of this video clip provided. There was a woman named, The Fruitcake Lady. Although she has passed on, her memory and her blunt commentary on life will linger on the internet thanks to appearances on Jay Leno and many clips on youtube.

NOTE:There are a few inappropriate items in the video. So be mindful of the audience who is with you when viewing.



About the Writer

BusinessLife is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on The history of fruitcake & The Fruitcake Lady

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By BusinessLife on December 06, 2010 at 01:53 pm

Melody: I had never heard of this woman until I started doing research for this article. There are many clips available on youtube.com. There's really bad video of her on The Tonight Show meeting Tom Cruise for the first time. It's hilarious. I was going to pick this clip but it was just hard to see clearly. :0

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By Frank - icare2be on December 06, 2010 at 02:02 pm

I, too, loved the video. It was refreshing.. Your story of fruit cake is precious. I buy my fruitcakes from Society of St John's Holy Transfiguration Skete. They are located in a very cold and remote part of Upper Michigan. They live on a shoestring selling fruitcakes and jam. Here is a link.. This is not an advertisement but just sharing. http://www.societystjohn.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=65

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By BusinessLife on December 06, 2010 at 02:06 pm

Frank: Thanks for stopping by. And no worries about sharing a link to help an organization raise funds. I can't say I will be ordering. But, like Melody said, between you and she, there are 72 others who need this link!! :)

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Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By BusinessLife on December 07, 2010 at 10:45 am

Askcherlock: I can't stand the stuff at all. So, I was hoping to see what people might offer as solutions to use the fruitcake for other than the traditional 'door stop.' Maybe I'll be in the clear and not receive one this year. :)

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