Written by Sherry
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 06:36
One of the classic phrases regarding the longevity of this particular food was coined in 1983 by Russell Baker: "Fruitcake is forever."
"Thirty-four years ago, I inherited the family fruitcake. Fruitcake is the only food durable enough to become a family heirloom. It had been in my grandmother's possession since 1880, and she passed it to a niece in 1933. Surprisingly, the niece, who had always seemed to detest me, left it to me in her will....I would have renounced my inheritance except for the sentiment of the thing, for the family fruitcake was the symbol of our family's roots. When my grandmother inherited it, it was already 86 years old, having been baked by her great-grandfather in 1794 as a Christmas gift for President George Washington. Washington, with his high-flown view of ethical standards for Government workers, sent it back with thanks, explaining that he thought it unseemly for Presidents to accept gifts weighing more than 80 pounds, even though they were only eight inches in diameter...There is no doubt...about the fruitcake's great age. Sawing into it six Christmasses ago, I came across a fragment of a 1794 newspaper with an account of the lynching of a real-estate speculator in New York City."
---"Fruitcake is Forever," Russell Baker, New York Times, December 25, 1983, Section 6 (p. 10)
And in case you just had to know, the oldest continuously operating fruitcake bakery in the US is here: Corsicana, Texas
The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake can be found here.
And you are always welcome to end your Christmas season by attending the annual Manitou Springs, Colorado fruitcake toss, just 25 or so minutes from us. Get that date on your calendar now: January 5, 2008.
Fruitcake categories include the ugliest fruitcake, the most creative use of a fruitcake, and the longest distance that a fruitcake is hurled. The all-time Great Fruitcake Toss record is 1,420 feet, set in January 2007 by a group of eight Boeing engineers, who built the Omega 380, a mock artillery piece fueled by compressed air, pumped by an exercise bike. They outlawed such tosses since.
The rules for competitors are here. Remember:
All Fruitcakes will be examined by the
“Fruitcake Toss Tech Inspectors.”
2. A limited number of fruitcakes will be available to rent for $1.00 if you were not fortunate enough to receive one of your own or if you were unable to find the time or recipe to bake one.
Standard & Super Heavy Weight Division for distance - You must use a 2 pound cake for the Launch or Hurl Division for the standard weight distance competition and a 4 pound fruitcake for the Pneumatic Division to qualify for the Super Heavy Weight distance competition.