Dot’s Reading Room: Now for something on the lighter side: Fruitcake

December 24, 2021

“The Magnificent History of the Maligned and Misunderstood Fruitcake,” by Jeffrey Miller, Associate Professor of Hospitality Management at Colorado State University, posted in The Conversation on Dec. 17.

Jokes about fruitcake are almost as legion as jokes about mothers-in-law.  But did you know that the gooey treats are edible for decades due to the “trifecta” of sugar, low-moisture ingredients, and high-proof spirits?

Professor Miller relates,Two friends from Iowa have been exchanging the same fruitcake since the late 1950s. Even older is the fruitcake left behind in Antarctica by the explorer Robert Falcon Scott in 1910. But the honor for the oldest known existing fruitcake goes to one that was baked in 1878 when Rutherford B. Hayes was president of the United States.”

Some of you may recall helping a grandmother chop up the fluorescent green citrus and other sticky fruits in the preparation of a favorite family recipe.  For modern-day fruitcake lovers, there is a certain high-profile store in Cambridge that delivers the best!

Read “The Magnificent History of the Maligned and Misunderstood Fruitcake” at

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Nancy Willett
January 11, 2022 12:04 pm

There are always exceptions.

Dot, thank you for your delightful Fruitcake Special. We need all the humorous, true deep winter, Holiday stories that are gifted to us. Appreciation and Joy, Nancy Willett

December 26, 2021 10:00 pm

Simple. Not enough whiskey or rum! Sweet fruits and butter unfettered by a proper ration of spirits will surely lead to ruin. Some years ago, I made 8 of these , weighing some 5 pound each in our Vulcan commercial oven at home. Was afraid to light a match for days afterwards, but the results were divine.

Ed Gray
December 24, 2021 10:57 pm

I beg to differ. After a Christmas package addressed to me c/o Barcelona General Delivery was not received, it was finally returned to my parents (the senders) a year and a half later. The enclosed fruitcake was an explosion of mold that ruined all the other contents of the package!

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