Columns, New Orleans

I’ll Drink My Peeps

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New Orleanians, it seems, will find just about any reason to enjoy a cocktail. It’s one of the things I appreciate most about the Crescent City.

So I was strolling down Royal Street recently – or it might have been Chartres Street – sipping a Bloody Mary in a plastic cup and heading to the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival to take my place on a panel discussion about humor writing when I spotted an advertisement for an Easter brunch. Cocktails, cocktails, cocktails! No big deal, I thought. Then I noticed the featured cocktails were “Peeptinis.”

The pink drink on the advertisement looked ghastly – whipped cream vodka, Grenadine, and Godiva white chocolate liquor rimmed in pink sugar and adorned with a pink chick Peep. A little glass of glucose. I was slightly nauseated, mildly appalled; yet highly intrigued by this unholy union of alcohol and spongy marshmallow. But it got me wondering: What kind of peep cocktail could I create?

It shouldn’t be too difficult to conceptualize, I thought. Peeps, after all, are comprised of nothing more than granulated sugar, liquid sugar, gelatin, vanilla, and color. Except for the eyes, which are made of carnauba wax imported from Brazil. Carnauba is non-toxic and edible. It’s found in many candies, but also in dental floss, shoe polishes, and car waxes.

Peeps have been around for more than sixty years. Back in the early 1950s the chicks and bunnies were squeezed out by hand one by one from a pastry tube. It took approximately twenty-seven hours from start to finish to create each one, mainly because it took the marshmallow a long time to cool before it could be packaged.

Today, Peeps are produced in rows by a machine called “The Depositor” and the whole process takes just about six minutes. The family-owned Just Born Company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, produces more than 4 million Peeps each day! Classic yellow is the most popular color for chicks and bunnies, followed by pink, lavender, blue, and white. And they don’t stop at chicks and bunnies. Just Born also produces Easter eggs, Christmas trees, jack-o-lanterns, and Valentines hearts.

As I pondered which cocktail I would make with the Peep, I couldn’t help but feel a classic Easter tradition deserved a classic cocktail. I opted to mix a simple “Peep Julep” and I selected an orange bunny Peep with a hint of crème de la orange flavor as the basis for the libation. I felt it would pair well with bourbon in terms of color and taste.

To create a classic Julep one should dissolve half an ounce of superfine sugar in an ounce of hot water. I used the Peep because, after all, it is made of superfine sugar. Next add eight mint leaves plus one mint sprig and press lightly with a spoon in order to release the oil from the mint leaves and the sugar from the Peep. Press too hard and the Peep will disintegrate and, trust me, that isn’t a good look. Add three ounces of good Kentucky bourbon, fill the glass (or preferably a silver cup) with cracked ice, and plant the mint spring in the ice. I fished out the orange bunny Peep, cut a slit in it, and used it to garnish my glass.

Bury your nose in the mint. Sip slowly. Not too bad, if I say so myself.

In retrospect, though, I recommend tossing the wet Peep and using a fresh one, unless, that is, you like the feel of something sticky pressing against your face while you imbibe.

The great Louisiana writer Walker Percy once said bourbon did for him what cake did for Proust. Wonder what he’d say about bourbon and Peeps? I bet I know.

 

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Strange Behavior

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I was spreading peanut butter on my bagel the other morning in the Korean deli where I sometimes pick up breakfast when all of a sudden this large woman began hollering. Her hands were waving all around and I thought for a moment she was having a seizure until I realized she was merely experiencing a fervent reaction to the way I was dressing my bagel.

Is it that out of the ordinary to mix peanut butter and cream cheese? I ask because everyone in the deli was staring at me, not her.

With such a rapt audience, I calmly picked up the stainless steel spreader and slathered even more peanut butter onto my sesame seed bagel. I piled it so damn high it looked like a double decker hamburger. The white Styrofoam container could barely close around the bulging bagel. People averted their eyes.

Americans are passionate about their peanut butter. We eat about 700 million pounds per year, enough to make ten billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, according to the National Peanut Board in Atlanta, Georgia.

We’re also particular about our peanut butter. More than sixty percent of Americans prefer creamy style. Most men, though, opt for chunky. That’s how former President Jimmy Carter likes his nut butter. And while there are devotees of the big three – Skippy, Jif, and Peter Pan – more and more are opting for natural and artisanal peanut butters, which, ironically, is how the stuff was originally produced until the advent of hydrogenation in the 1920s.

Hydrogenation is the technical term for the process that prevents the separation of oils and solids. This means peanut butter doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can have a longer, more commercially viable shelf life. That invention plus the use of peanut butter as a meat alternative for American troops during World War II led to a post-war peanut butter boom and the birth of a pop culture culinary phenom.

Southerners seem to have a special predilection for peanut butter, perhaps because that’s where peanuts are grown. Southerners use it on anything from fried chicken to coleslaw to popcorn and cornbread. Bill Clinton proclaimed his love for the peanut butter and banana sandwich, a delight made famous by Elvis Presley. George W. Bush liked a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey was said to like peanut butter, baloney, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and mayonnaise on toasted bread, with ketchup on the side. No wonder he was never elected president…

Today, bacon, figs, and peaches are popular accompaniments to peanut butter sandwiches in some nouveau Southern restaurants. Peanuts and peanut butter are even showing up in cocktails.

In fact, I read recently in Garden & Gun Magazine about a gastropub called Ollie Irene in Birmingham, Alabama, that’s tarting up that Southern classic bourbon and coke by adding a peanut orgeaut. A gastropub in Alabama? Peanut orgeat? This I had to try.

Peanut orgeat is a highfalutin name for simple syrup made with peanuts and orange flower water. To make it you start by shelling two cups of roasted unsalted peanuts and then pulverizing them in a food processor. On the stove, combine 1.5 cups of sugar and 1.25 cups of water and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Then boil for three minutes. Add the peanuts, reduce the heat and slowly bring back up to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least six hours.

The next step with the orgeat is to strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove the peanut solids. To the thick muddy liquid add one ounce of vodka or brandy and a teaspoon of orange flower water. My advice here would be to just add a shot of Cointreau instead and a little dab of peanut butter to amp up the flavor. Stir. Presto, orgeat. It will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

To prepare the cocktail, simply add two shots of Jack Daniels, one shot of the peanut orgeat, ice, and fill with Coca-Cola. Garnish with a roasted peanut.

The folks at Ollie Irene call their concoction a “Tallulah.” My drinking companions and I called it “Type Two” because we swear we could feel our pancreases working overtime to process all the sugar. It was surprisingly tasty, though a tad pretentious for my taste and probably best suited for a brunch with mixed company.

About that six-hour prep time…well, no cocktail should take that long to prepare. And that my friends is strange behavior worth hollering about.

 

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Morning Drinking

I found myself one Saturday morning on my knees in front of a wooden gate with a paintbrush in my left hand and a cold tumbler of Nicaraguan rum and Diet Coke in my right. By nine o’clock, the temperature had climbed into the high 80s already, and I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, with a little “help” the gate might actually revolve around the brush.

No such luck. But at least the chore was made more bearable.

For most people, morning drinking implies a visit to a coffee bar. French roast or Blue Mountain. Lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when gentlemen used to drink brandy before breakfast or take a slug of rock and rye while shaving. Still others sipped a little Medford Rum, a robust and molasses flavored spirit, while dressing. It helped them tie their ascots, no doubt.

Men on Wall Street during the Gilded Age often slipped away before lunch for a Manhattan, a sour, or a milk punch. Midmorning was the first well-established masculine cocktail hour. It firmed one’s moral fiber.

Let’s face it, morning drinking today has a stigma attached to it unless, of course, it’s done on the weekend and called brunch. Or, when facing a daunting morning chore like painting a gate.

Morning drinking, however, is perfectly acceptable in certain cities. Las Vegas promotes it to lure you to the gaming tables. In New Orleans, well, it seems to be just a reflection of how everyone was raised. Drive-thru daiquiri bars open at 8:00 a.m. Local package and convenience stores offer “Six Packs for the Road.” Who can resist a soothing Voodoo Mojo at 9:30 in the morning?

In Palm Springs, there’s an older gay crowd that likes to drink during the day because they don’t like to drive at night. And, being Palm Springs, there are an awful lot of these old boys. At The Street Bar Named Desire, which opens at ten, one covey of jigglers have discovered that if they park in the lot behind the bar, they can sneak in through the back door at 9:45 and claim not only the best seats but also first service. No tedious delay in ordering their morning wake-me-ups!

No doubt you are wondering where are the best places in Rehoboth to find a drink in the morning. Under the guise of research, I went exploring one Saturday, where by law an establishment can provide alcohol starting at 9:00 a.m. On Sunday you have to wait until noon.

I learned that The Crystal, on Rehoboth Avenue just outside the city limits, would serve you a cocktail at nine o’clock on the dot and not one minute before. Be forewarned, though, that people sitting nearby may “tsk tsk” when your waiter shows up with a big Bloody Mary alongside your omelet and scrapple. It’s that kind of place. If this bothers you, slip on over into the back bar, which is more conducive for a morning drink. Plus, you can arrive and depart mostly unnoticed via a separate door.

The Robin Hood on the first block of Rehoboth Avenue is another breakfast joint that starts serving cocktails at nine o’clock. Believe it or not, the Robin Hood actually encourages morning drinking with a big ol’ sign in the front window advertising a $4.95 Bloody Mary. If you go, I suggest you grab a booth in the back and keep your sunglasses on. Though it’s family-oriented, the owners know that even daddy needs a drink now and then.

Grotto’s Beach Bar right on the Boardwalk opens at ten, and on the morning I visited there were already two gentlemen in Penn State tank tops nursing big beers. While this bar has a certain charm in the afternoon, in my opinion, it’s just way too bright in the morning. The people walking by tend to stare.

The Purple Parrot, on the other hand, is dark and cool and nobody stares. It’s my choice for the best morning bar in Rehoboth. And when the fans and the disco music are going, a breakfast margarita suddenly seems very a propos.

To my surprise, Obie’s, the Frogg Pond, and Rigby’s weren’t open early enough for the purposes of this research. John and John, the owners of Rigby’s, however, have expressed some interest in holding a morning happy hour. Let ‘em know if you like that idea.

Down in Dewey, there’s no need for a morning happy hour to draw the crowds. By 9:00, packs of hung-over guys and girls in baseball caps and sunglasses are staggering like zombies toward the Starboard, the Mecca of the morning drink. By 9:05 there’s already a line at the Bloody Mary bar. At the back bar, I count a half dozen unshaven bros hunkered down already over beers and Orange Crushes. One collective mentality in flip-flops pursuing the morning buzz.

All in all, this little excursion into the world of morning drinking was pretty lame. I’d expected so much more from a town that, according to some alarmists, is rampant with loud lewd behavior and teetering on the edge of the abyss. Frankly, there’s more drinking and lascivious language going on in the family rental house next door than in any bar downtown.

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A Matter of Size: How I Came to Appreciate the Cucumber


I’ve never been particularly excited by the cucumber. As a summer vegetable – actually a fruit — I’ve always found it lacking in flavor, a poor imitation of a melon and not quite a zucchini. The greasy green skin creeps me out. And, they make me burp. The closest I get is a Kiehl’s cucumber and herb skin toner.

Yet right now, there are a half dozen cukes hanging on vines that I’ve trained up an eight-foot bamboo wigwam frame in the middle of my rose garden.

Trained is a figure of speech. The vines seem to grow six inches a day and the prehensile tendrils grip on to anything they can find. It’s an ongoing battle to keep them from smothering my rose garden like kudzu.

Given all this, you must be wondering what possessed me to cultivate cucumbers this summer. Well, it all started with an NPR story about cornichons, those tiny, delicious, imported French pickles you buy in gourmet stores. Seems France is in an uproar because production has been outsourced to India. Frenchmen take their cornichons seriously, as do I. How can one enjoy a country pate without cornichons? It’s uncivilized.

Despite the fact that the cucumber originated in India and seventy percent of the world’s cucumbers are now grown in Asia, I share the Franco-fear that this isn’t going to work out well in the long run. I can only imagine it’ll be similar to that mealy Chinese crab some places are now pushing off as blue crab.

I decided, therefore, to take matters into my own hands, and I ordered up a packet of seeds from Paris. Not just any seeds, but “Cucumber Vert Fin de Meaux,” a very ancient variety specially selected to be harvested for the making of cornichons. They come from the mustard-making region of France. Special fruit with excellent productivity.

My plan was to pickle the midget cukes in a bath of kosher salt, vinegar, peppercorns, tarragon, grape leaves and mustard seeds for enjoyment in the fall. No longer would I need to travel to Zabar’s on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to get the very best. I’d grow cornichons on Columbia Avenue.

Or so I thought. I got distracted, you see, by the heat, the beach, and a busy social scene. Turned my back for one week it seemed, and when I went to take a peek at le petit cornichons, whoa Nelly! I was shocked to find them all swolled-up and wagging to and fro on the vine like some sort of hothouse porn star.

I couldn’t pickle a cornichon of this size. Defeats the purpose.

What was I gonna do now? Make batches of cucumber and onion salad? Give ‘em as gifts at dinner parties? Actually, I like that idea…

Just as I was about to toss them into the composter, I had a brilliant idea. Why not drink them?

Truth be told, I’d never tasted a cucumber cocktail. But, I was certainly aware that cucumbers had moved out of the realm of garnish and into the main event. The challenge would be to find a cocktail that paid homage to the French spirit of Vert Fin de Meaux.

Nothing with tequila or gin would do. Rum didn’t feel quite right either, even though the French-speaking Caribbean nations are known for full-bodied rhums produced from sugar cane juice. A frozen concoction seemed tacky. A martini, too American. And, I was not the least bit interested in anything that required boiling a cucumber to make syrup.

Finally though, I came across a recipe that seemed worth trying. In the spirit of Julia Child, follow along with me if you please.

Peel four cukes. Remove the seeds and coarsely chop them. Puree, and then liquefy in a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much jus as possible. Notice how the scent of cucumber fills the air.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add one cup of loosely packed mint leaves, two tablespoons of sugar, and three tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice. Shake. Then add a cup of cucumber jus, half a cup of vodka, and two generous shots of Cointreau. Shake again. Strain into four glasses filled with ice and garnish with a cucumber spear.

Repeat.

This cocktail is pure bliss. Better than a mojito and without the mess. Summer in a shaker. Funny how a couple of inches can alter one’s perspective.

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Desperately Seeking Sorrel

Every spring, the New York Times showcases a single sorrel recipe. They don’t draw attention to it, and most people probably don’t give it much thought.

But for the sorrel aficionados out there, it’s the equivalent of the announcement of the Academy Award nominees or the release of college football’s first BCS rankings. It is anticipated.

This year’s recipe was for poached eggs in a buttery sorrel sauce. Last year was a sorrel and stinging nettle soup. Naturally, the recipe triggers a run on sorrel, which makes it even more difficult than it usually is to find some.

I couldn’t get any last season. Not at the Giant. Not at the Rehoboth Farmer’s Market. Not even from Whole Foods in Washington. So when I found myself in Manhattan recently on a Wednesday afternoon and with an hour to kill before my next meeting, of course, I made a beeline to the green market at Broadway and 17th.

There were cartons of fresh fava beans and containers of fresh cow’s milk. Honey to eat. Bees wax to burn. Apple wine and apple cider. And because it’s springtime, bountiful greens. Ramps, yes, but sorrel, no.

I was about to give up, when I spotted a fuzzy young farmer at a tiny organic cheese and herb stall. He was staring intently at me, as if he could sense my desire. I approached cautiously, not wanting to get my hopes up, and asked him if I could see it. With a knowing grin, he hauled it out.

“You like it,” he asked? What wasn’t to like? “It’s big, right?” It was indeed an impressive specimen, I had to say, and a fancy French variety — Blonde de Lyon, to be precise. My mouth was watering. The French, you see, are responsible for bringing sorrel under cultivation to improve the quality and the flavor of the leaves. Until the late 1600s, it was gathered from the wild. Most markets carry only the common type, if they carry it at all. This was indeed a fortunate find.

I purchased the only one he had left, which I then transported around for the rest of the day, to meetings, to a cocktail party, and then back to Washington on the train. It’s currently sitting in a big terra cotta pot in my back yard on Columbia Avenue.

By now, you may have probably surmised that sorrel is a delightful potherb and one of spring and summer’s most special greens. If you haven’t heard much about it, well, that’s because Americans tend not to like its somewhat sour, acidic taste.

The plant’s distinctive taste is due to oxalic acid, which is, in fact, a poison. In small quantities, sorrel is harmless. In large quantities, it can be fatal. But, if you open your mouth and your mind to it you’ll find sorrel to be an adventuresome and tangy taste sensation that can take your taste buds through all of the following: limes, lemons, spinach, rhubarb, cabbage and amaranth.

What other green can do all that?

Personally, I think sorrel is best enjoyed as a chilled soup on an exceptionally hot day and served with a French white wine, preferably a Sancerre or a Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley. While there are many recipes for sorrel soup, I like Julia Child’s the best. It pays proper homage to the leafy vegetable.

One final note: to cultivate a taste for sorrel is a commitment. You must first find it. And then you must buy it. In a gourmet market, you can expect to pay up to $6 a bunch. For a decent sorrel soup, you’ll need about 5 bunches, plus heavy cream, eggs, and chicken stock. Don’t worry that it costs more than lobster bisque. A thirty-dollar soup is a small price to pay for a taste that is like no other.

French gourmet and culinary writer Francis Amunategui once declared sorrel soup rich enough for the governor of the Bank of France. How appropriate is that? You’d have to have access to all the franks of the realm to really indulge your taste for it.

Bon appetit.

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Cheap Meat

Where were you when you heard the news? I was sipping on some single barrel bourbon and burning old bank statements in the fireplace when I learned that the nation was officially caught up in a chicken wing craze. Seems that for the first time ever, the average wholesale prices for chicken wings had eclipsed prices for chicken breasts.

Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve always felt breasts were over-rated.

Industry watchers attribute it to the recession. Restaurants, the big buyers of breast meat, cut back orders as millions of people cut back on eating out. Breast prices slumped. Demand for wings, however, remained strong, partly because people perceive them as a cheap luxury.

But that’s only part of the story. Fueling the craze too is the growth of restaurant chains focusing solely on wings. They don’t require a lot of capital or special equipment. They certainly don’t require any real culinary expertise. The pizza industry’s gotten into the game too, calling pizza and chicken wings a match made in heaven. Pizza Hut and Papa John’s push them. Rehoboth’s own Nicola’s, on the other hand, sells chicken tenders, slices of breast meat deep-fried and served with dipping sauces. Clever marketers now call them “boneless wings,” a term I find a little unsettling.

For a myriad of reasons, the common chicken wing, aka the Buffalo Wing, has become a classic American finger food and a regular standby during football season. This simple combination of bone, skin, and fat has overtaken nachos as the number one menu appetizer.

Does anyone eat fried mushrooms any more?

According to most food historians, Buffalo wings were invented in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo, a co-owner with her husband Frank of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The way the story goes, Teressa received one day a case of chicken wings by mistake. She had no idea what she was going to do with so many wings, which she used primarily for soup stock. The revelation came to her in the middle of the night. By God, she’d cut ‘em in half, broil ‘em, and then sprinkle ‘em with butter and a hot sauce. Voilà, a classic was born. The blue cheese and celery came later.

In 1980, the New Yorker did an expose on the Buffalo wing and turned up an alternative origin. An African-American man named John Young claims to have been serving fried chicken wings with a special “mambo” sauce on them back in the mid-60’s in his “Wings and Things” restaurant in Buffalo. He moved to St. Louis for several years before returning to Buffalo and re-opening his business in 1979.

The Anchor Bar, however, remains the Holy Grail for wing lovers, serving up more than 70,000 pounds per month. More than ninety thousand people attended the city’s Buffalo wing festival last September. Forty tons were served.

Though chicken wings have a cult following in pubs and at eating contests, they’ve also crept into more upscale restaurants. In Rehoboth, for example, Stingray used to feature a Chinese chicken wings with a Hoisin sauce. Dogfish Head serves a traditional hot wing, as well as a barbeque wing, which I recently sampled. They were tender and perfectly seasoned. At Salt Air, the wings are grilled with classic Old Bay seasoning and served with tomato jam and pickled peppers with anise. They pair nicely with a big Zinfandel.

Speaking of good pairings, nothing in my opinion beats a classic Makers Mark Manhattan and a plate of ordinary hot wings. There’s something about the complex nose of the upscale bourbon, with vanilla and spice, a delicate floral note of roses, lime and cocoa beans, and a finish featuring fresh oak with a hint of smoke and a flash of peach that works perfectly with the simplicity of a fried chicken wing and cayenne pepper.

Okay, so I’ve gotten a little out of hand here. I know some of you reading this column are wondering why in the hell would he pen a column about a cheap piece of meat. Well, why not? What else is there to do in Rehoboth during the winter but eat chicken wings, drink whiskey, and tend your African violets?

In closing, let me leave you with one final thought: lobster was once the equivalent of spam.

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Fruitcake


You would think in a town like Rehoboth it’d be easy to find a fruitcake. Alas, that’s not the case. You can purchase a fruit pie, a fruit tart, or a fruit basket, but not a genuine fruitcake.

Thankfully, there’s the Internet, because fruitcake season is upon us and I am jonesing for a fix.

Some of you probably just gasped after reading those words. That’s so plebeian, you’re thinking. Tawdry even. He can’t be serious.

When I was growing up, the fruitcakes began to arrive at our house around mid-November. White boxes from Georgia emblazoned with a horse and carriage drawing and the phrase “world famous.” I never knew which crazy relatives sent us all these heavy brick-shaped fruitcakes every holiday season, but I had my suspicions.

That was back in the days before divorce and death began disabling my family, carefree holidays when we’d use fruitcakes in our touch football games. Just like the Kennedy’s. Did you know it’s virtually impossible to throw a spiral pass with a fruitcake? But you can bust out a window.

I once consumed an entire fruitcake all by myself: twenty eight hundred calories; one pound of raisins, pineapples, cherries, orange peel, pecans, sugar, and rich golden pound cake. At least I think I did. It was back during high school and when I woke up after a night out drinking red grape malt duck I found my bed littered with plastic wrapping and red corrugated cardboard packaging remnants. My fingers were sticky.

The fruitcake, it’s said, may have originated in ancient Egypt or the Roman Empire. The confection was, and still is, widely loved in England where it was originally called plum cake and served at celebrations. Exactly how the fruitcake made it to the New World is hard to determine.

However it got here, it found its place naturally in the rural South. A couple of German bakers seem to have played a major role in starting the Southern fruitcake phenomena. The first was an immigrant baker named Gus Weidmann, who started the Colin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, in 1896. It’s still in business today, shipping about 1.6 million of its Deluxe fruitcakes each year.

Lyle Lovett and Vanna White are among the legions of fans that enjoy Deluxe fruitcakes. Every president since Woodrow Wilson has received one from the Colin Street Bakery. Former White House Chef Roland Mesnier suggests letting the dense Texas fruitcake warm to room temperature and then serve with real whipped cream on the side.

Another German by the name of Savino Tos moved from Brooklyn to Georgia in 1910 to work in a bakery in Macon. He fell in love with the South and eventually opened his own bakery in the little agricultural town of Claxton. He sold fruitcakes during the holidays.

As his business expanded, he hired two young men – Albert Parker and Ira Womble – to help him. Tos eventually retired and sold the Claxton Bakery to Parker. Womble opened his own Georgia Fruitcake Company in Claxton in 1948. Both families still run the bakeries and Claxton is known today as the “fruitcake capital of the world.” Millions are mailed out each holiday season.

Where do they all go? I ask because there’s a lot of animosity out there towards the humble fruitcake. Whole websites are devoted to the rantings of fruitcake haters. People in Manitou Springs, Colorado, gather on the first Saturday in January to toss, catapult, and slingshot away their unwanted fruitcakes.

Some scholars blame the late Johnny Carson and his holiday fruitcake jokes. He once proclaimed that there was but one fruitcake in the world and it keeps getting passed around. Others say its because people are scared of the unnatural green cherries. Most people just hate it and if you ask them why they can’t give you a really sound answer. Sounds sort of like the Tea Party to me…

Fruitcakes come in all shapes and sizes, from cupcakes to loaves to rings that look like hemorrhoid cushions. There are specialty cakes sold by Neiman Marcus and bourbon-laced fruitcakes baked by Trappist monks in Kentucky.

As you might have surmised, I prefer a classic Claxton, one of those dense sweet cake bricks packed with glow-in-the-dark candied fruits. The spam of fruitcakes. Nectar of the gods.

I like a fruitcake with memories.

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