Thursday, November 27, 2008

The End of the Carson Fruitcake Myth


Grandmother Carson's Fruitcake

For years my in-laws and my wife's other people have discussed in my presence their fond remembrances of a fruit cake made by Jennifer's mother's mother. I knew Grandmother Carson (or, as she is known in the family, GMC). She was a strong, quiet woman, and an excellent cook. In the early years after Jennifer and I got married, we used to go down to Dothan, Alabama to visit GMC and have Thanksgiving there.

Anyway, I never had GMC's fruitcake and all this talk about this fruitcake within my married extended family was as if they had all just eaten a piece last weekend. I accused both Jennifer and her mother recently of making the whole thing up. The damn cake never existed.

So, Jennifer had her mother over here last weekend to make this mythical fruitcake. Now I know why they talked about this cake for two decades without having eaten it.

It takes forever to make. There are so many ingredients but, essentially, there's no cake about it. It almost entirely consists of nuts and fruit. The cost of making a single cake is about $50.

One of the many treasures of this mythical cake is that you fill the hole in the middle of the cake with some good bourbon and let it set a spell. You let the bourbon seep in. So, when you serve it, the cake is this hefty, chunky thing filled with fruit flavors with a faint hint of bourbon, moist yet wonderfully crunchy to eat.

GMC's fruitcake is a rewarding experience and one piece is certainly fulfilling after a great Thanksgiving meal.

The recipe in GMC's hand writing.

I'm blessed that Jennifer can cook like her grandmother. She learned from my dad's mother, Mama Beason, how to make this superb sagey tasting dressing. It is timeless to taste the dressing my grandmother served me every Thanksgiving in my youth.

So, today we had two grandmothers with us for Thanksgiving. Both dead but very much loved through their dressing and dessert. A banner day to end of this fruitcake's myth.

It is every bit as good as they fussed about for 20 years.

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