Monday, November 23, 2015

Holiday Traditions: Fruitcake

There are some traditions I am sure we would like to forget about. The ones that we keep doing even though if we stopped, no one would miss. This is for me, the dreaded fruitcake. I have never made a fruitcake, and while it is not my favorite, it became a family tradition that my mother in law had continued through the years.

Before we open presents on Christmas morning, my mother in law and I would get the coffee going and set out some sweets. These sweets typically consisted of some breads, banana, pumpkin and of course fruitcake.

During the 16th century, it was discovered that fruit could be preserved by soaking it in great concentrations of sugar. Because fruit now was able to be preserved, unavailable fruits were soon being imported in candied form from other parts of the world. This increased the supply of these fruit and the need to dispose of them, thus came the invention of fruitcake.

We don't see the younger generation baking up these fruitcakes. These usually come from Grandmother's as gifts to their children or Grandchildren.  I have personally never baked a fruitcake or bought one. But this year may be my first.

Last Christmas was my mother in laws last Christmas, as she passed away this year. She had been fighting cancer for the last four years and lost the battle this year. We celebrated Christmas last year at her house and while we all had no idea this would be the last one with her, I am so glad that we spent her last one there. Her son Marc made it in form England, and the entire family was together.

This year I will be hosting Christmas at my house. Christmas was a special time for her and I as we would get together in December and work on Christmas Cards as well as bake holiday goods.  This year, I will be making the holiday cookies by myself and I will be preparing the holiday meal on my own.  There will be many traditions that I will not be able to continue until I have a daughter in law of my own, (but I am in no rush for that.) But one thing I can continue, is to set out the fruitcake. It won't be homemade, but it will remind us of Grandma.

So this year when your your Grandmother brings over her famous fruitcake, remember, this may be the last one. Take time to sit and chat with her over a cup of coffee and some fruitcake, and embrace these family traditions remembering it is not about the fruitcake, it is about the memories you are creating.

Robert Sietsema. (2002). A short history of fruitcake. Available: Last accessed 11/23/2015.
Reprinted with permission from


Megan J said...

Hi Monica, Lovely story of the fruit-cake, Grandma will be watching... make the fruit cake... (it's not that hard) By the way I'm definitely not old and I do make a fruit-cake and pudding every year... just has something to do with food allergies and now another couple of family members have been diagnosed with similar issues I will have to share!! Have a great week...Megan

Carrie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Holidays are times when we especially feel the absence of loved ones and miss sharing the joy and traditions of the season with them. Serving some fruitcake sounds like a sweet tribute to your mother-in-law's memory.

Marie Bingaman said...

What a lovely post Monica. I too "intensely dislike" fruitcake, but I do cherish all my family memories! :)

Decosse's Dynamite Doodles said...

I'm glad that you have some wonderful memories of your last Christmas with your MIL. I wish that they sustain you and yours through this coming one.

I've never had, purchased or made fruitcake. Most has nuts in it so it is something I've never tried.