Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||Grandma's Secret Recipe....
Grandma's Secret Recipe
season always brings to mind a traditional holiday favorite, fruitcake. So many
jokes have been made about tasteless fruitcake that there are not many left.
People joke about fruitcake like you buy at the supermarket or receive as a gag
gift from someone at the office.
These are not real fruitcakes. They make great doorstops, paperweights, or
bowling balls. Most people save the pretty metal can and throw the cake away or
pass the cake on as a gift to an unsuspecting relative.
Real fruitcake is homemade, like the kind my grandmother used to make. I don't
know where she got the recipe, probably off the back of a box as it doesn't seem
like anything that would have been handed down through generations.
I'm going to let you in on one of our family's best kept secrets -- the recipe
for Mama Caldwell's fruitcake.
The most important thing about a fruitcake is the fruit. Some people seem to
forget this very important fact. They try to save money on the main ingredient
and buy those sticky packages of candied mixed fruit. No, no, no! This stuff has
orange peelings in it. How can it possibly be good?
Pass by the cheap stuff and go for a container of candied pineapple. In
addition, you need candied cherries, red, green, or both. The more fruit, the
bigger the fruitcake will be. Of course, you need nuts. Mama Caldwell used black
walnuts and pecans, but most people do not have walnut trees in the backyard, so
it's okay to only use only pecans. Add a box of raisins and that's it.
Here's the secret part: a package of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers
crumbed, and a can of Borden's Eagle Brand Milk. You can use packaged crumbs if
you are too lazy to make your own, but do not try to substitute any other kind
of condensed milk. Eagle Brand is the only kind that will work. Some have tried
other things and learned the hard way.
You need a tube cake pan. If you don't have one or never heard of such a thing,
you can use a bunt cake pan or a loaf pan, but line it with light aluminum foil
first. Without the lining, you will never get the cake out of the pan. Just take
my word for it and don't worry about how I know.
Set aside about half a dozen cherries and some pineapple. Don't ask questions.
I'll tell you why later. Mix the crumbs, fruits, and nuts in a large bowl. Melt
the marshmallows. Grandma Caldwell used a double-boiler, but you can do it just
as well in the microwave. When melted, stir in the milk, pour over the crumb
mixture and stir.
If you have a spouse or child that likes to help in the kitchen, call in the
reinforcements. You need help to press the warm mixture quickly and firmly into
a pan. If it starts getting hard before you are done, you will have a big sticky
When finished, refrigerate in the pan. Yes, you heard me right. No baking. How
easy is that? The next day, remove the cake from the pan and use the reserved
fruit to decorate the top. Wrap it in heavy foil and store in the refrigerator,
the longer, the better so the flavors blend.
Mama Caldwell sometimes wrapped the cake in muslin soaked with her good homemade
wine and aged it in the cellar, but that is not part of her recipe since she was
a very good Baptist and people might talk.
If you couldn't get the cake out of the pan, quit trying to cook. It is
hopeless. Go to the supermarket and buy one of the bricks they sell there. You
can always soften it with brandy. Use enough and you won't care whether it is
tasteless or not.
Remember, this is a secret family recipe. Do not give it to anyone. Keep it a
secret like I did.
Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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