J Simens.com

Are fruitcakes immortal?

News today! Conservationists found a 106-year-old fruitcake in Antarctica that was nearly edible. What in the world does this mean? Nearly edible! And they are talking about old fruitcake….hum.

Once it was just  21 days into New Year and I just ran into a FRUITCAKE on the island of Roatan.  No not a weird person but an actual fruitcake in the store.  It was sitting near the tortillas and looking very lonely.  Not a Christmas decoration or another Christmas treat by of this lonely fruitcake.  I did not buy it!  I know there are “Year Round Holiday Trees” on Pinterest.  So perhaps there are “Year-Round Fruitcakes” on Roatan.

Have you ever had a thought that would not go away?

I watched a young boy take an entrance test for his new European school. Many international institutions assist the admission offices and let students do the necessary exams to get into their new school. It is always interesting to see what one-school values and tests compared to your school. So the thought that will not go away  is “What is the most important thing a child should have as he moves to a new school?” I mean besides the question about immortal fruitcakes.

Then I jump to “How would it be tested?”


“What would that look like in a test booklet?”

In other words, what are schools doing to help the next generation of kids be successful? What skills have to be part of the curriculum? What skills must parents demand of their child’s school?

Parents need help build their children’s emotional and social growth.

If we want to channel the passionate feelings of love we have for our children into a healthy approach to raising them, we need to think about how we want to prepare them to most successfully live the rest of their lives.

Fruitcake is one of those things that you either love or hate.  This is the same way I feel about entrance exams for an elementary school.  I can see why a school thinks they need them; you need to have some baseline or comparison, so you know what you are getting.

I have this same need when I decide to buy a fruitcake.  I check out the ingredients on the label. I have very few requirements on a good Christmas fruitcake but come on people – With its two key ingredients–rum and butter–it ought to be a hit. And then so many fruitcakes don’t use either?

Some fruitcakes have actual dried fruit, instead of the glowing, candied stuff that I’ve learned to associate with fruitcake.  I am unsure of how I feel about this.

It is the same uneasy feeling I get when I see a new school only asking about a child’s ability to read a short story and pick the best answers or to spell words from a list they have never seen before.  It just makes me uneasy as an educator. It is not the way I have seen my colleagues work with students. It just seems like the new school is looking for something that is not that important and perhaps they should just ask the current teacher two questions.

  • What motivates this child to love to learn?
  • Will this child’s parents be supportive and helpful to both the child and our school, if so give examples?

Perhaps I am overly simplified in my approach to education, but in this global world, as more and more kids are faced with entrance exams into new schools, it can become a weird system where we seek things that are of no value to the school or society as a whole.

Parents need to act as guardians for their children’s emotional and social growth

My overly simplified approach to fruitcake – make sure there is lots of butter and rum, and soon everyone will forget the dried glow in the dark stuff we were brought up with and embrace the goodness of a great fruitcake. Pair it with the type of alcohol that the cake had been soaked in. The best fruitcakes usually start with a large bowl of fruit soaking in Tennessee Whiskey and Cognac. Some possible pairing could be Moscato, Tawny Port or Sweet Riesling.

If you love the flavor of fruitcake you can make a drink to savor that flavor!

Fruitcake, The Drink

  1. Simply, mix the sugar and ground cloves together in a saucer.
  2. Moisten a rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a cut lemon and spin in the sugar-clove mixture.
  3. Shake the other ingredients well with some cracked ice in your cocktail shaker and then strain into the prepared glass.
  4. Garnish with candied fruit peel and crystalized ginger.
  • ounce brandy 
  • 1ounce  Amaretto
  • 1ounce Cointreau Liqueur 
  • 1lemon, juice of
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 12teaspoon ground cloves 
  • candied fruit, peel (for garnish)
  • (for garnish) crystallized ginger

The best thing to serve with fruitcake is a side dish of friendship! Share with someone new in your life or have a quiet moment with someone from your past as you catch up on all that has been going on.

Photo from creative commons –