So today I made a fruitcake, based on the “Alton Brown” model, with a few subtle changes to bring it closer to the “pound cake” side of the “cake spectrum”… it turned out okay, though it was too “cake like” and not enough “brick like”. And, oddly, I find that the Alton Brown recipe doesn’t have nearly enough fruit. It needs more candied ginger, and… candied pineapple or something. Again-too much of the “cake” not enough of the “Brick”.
The other interesting thing I learned was that nuts really do taste better when you toast them a bit. When I was a kid, I hated nuts in cakes and such. …I positively abhored them in cookies. And only today did I realize that it’s because Mom didn’t know how to cook–of course, before Food Network, I’m not sure anyone in America knew how to cook, except Julia Child, and people thought she was crazy.
And I think that’s one of the problems with most American’s diets: they don’t have good food, so they simply do with more food. Though, these days, I think I see that turning around. A lot of my friends who have been fat have taken up cookery and things that verge more on cuisine to replace the mass amounts of flavorless junk they had previously been eating. Now, sure… sometimes you’ve got to eat a whole bucket of chicken wings and down a sixer of Pabst. Sure… once in a while. Hell–I just ate 3 no-bake cookies. (I had leftover nuts, so you see, I was obligated to make them!) But all in all, smaller portions of food that is actually worth tasting–not just shoveling in your maw–are healthier. I think maybe that’s the “magical secret” behind the alleged “healthy French” conundrum. Sure, the french may eat butter in everything, including their morning coffee, but since they don’t eat so incredibly much, they don’t turn into huge lumbering monstrosities, like your average midwesterner.
But, back to the cake… I had to subsitute dates for blueberries, and candy my own ginger , but these sort of first tries are my way of just figuring out how the thing works, so I can twist it to my will, and engineer the ultimate Yuletide Fruitwraith. The Fruitwraith will not stop until it has savaged your very taste-buds with its awesome spice-and-citrus punch–until it has consumed all of the space in your stomach–until it has aged to the point of unstoppable power, its dark engine powered by the same awful fuel that powered The Greats: Pollock, Bukowski, Dudley Moore.
This is my way of saying to you “I’ve watched too much of the Lord of the Rings recently”. Speaking of movies… …a friend of mine is judging the 2006 Metro Shorts – Detroit Film Competition/Festival. If you find yourself having produced a movie with an artistically redeeming quality, either by design or by accident ( …long… …drawn-out accident… ), I entreat you to submit it therein. You could very well be the next “That guy who directed Napoleon Dynamite”. Or you could end up being laughed out of the theatre for your animated short based on the secret life of cupcakes. Though, having known a fellow who made a movie about the secret life of a cupcake, I think it’s just that nobody understands your genius. Maybe Stoppard would, or… surely Beckett….
note: my wife hates Beckett, especially “Endgame“. I didn’t mind it, mostly because I enjoy the absurd, but also because I imagined the entire play being performed by muppets. My wife specifically complained that she thought that people living in ash cans was stupid. But… I think we all could name a trash-can-resident muppet.