ABC to XYZ in Foods: Fruitcake's fall from grace

This Tangerine Cake with Citrus Glaze might make a nice alternative to the dreaded traditional fruit cake. File photo
Bette Banjack

FISH – has been around as long as there have been oceans, rivers and lakes.

Fish as food only have traces of carbohydrates and fiber with a lot less fat per ounce than meat. In most cases the darker the flesh, the higher the fat content. An important nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids, most abundant from fatty fish that live in cold water.

Sushi has become very popular: whole restaurants are dedicated to only serving raw fish. I like my fish cooked, thank you.

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You want to purchase fresh-smelling, good-looking fish. Avoid fish with overpowering fishy smell. Refrigerate all fresh and smoked fish immediately. Keep frozen fish frozen until ready to use.

Shellfish or seafood is not considered fish, but is in a class by itself. We will take a look at this popular food when we get to “S.” One more thing — I would like to mention that there are fresh water fish and there are salt water varieties.

FRUITCAKE – According to the web site What’s Cooking America, in the early 1800s fruitcakes were extremely popular in Britain. Actually, the British had a love affair with the dried fruit that came from the Mediterranean area.

Fruitcakes were also known a plum cake. It was so revered that Queen Victoria celebrated her birthday each year with fruitcake being served. Along the way, ceremonial types of fruitcakes were baked at the end of the harvest and saved to celebrate the next year’s harvest. Fruitcakes were also used for weddings and funerals.

Over the years, the fruitcake has gotten a bad rap. I believe that somewhere along the way, dried fruit was replaced with odd tasting candied fruit.

There is no Christmas goodie dreaded more to receive than the traditional fruitcake. People that lived through the Great Depression recall fruitcake as a treat with great fondness. Was it because people were so poor that it was the only holiday treat they had? How come fruitcake is never found on the menu at restaurants?

It is rumored that four fruitcakes were baked in 1932; they are still in the original wrappings and are still being re-gifted. The only good thing about a traditional fruitcake is the alcohol that may be in the recipe.

Oriental Fruitcake

Wonderful Year-Round (freezes well)

• ½ pound butter or margarine

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 1 cup milk

• 3 cups flour

• 3 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 cup chopped mixed nuts

• 4 eggs

• 1 cup dark raisins

• 1 teaspoon ground cloves

• 1 teaspoon allspice

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, one at a time. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and spices) together. Alternating, add milk and flour mixture, beating well to creamed mixture. By hand, fold in raisins and nuts. Pour into two greased and floured standard loaf pans (9”x5”x3”). Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

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