Monday, November 20, 2023

The Fruitcake Bowl

Long before we got together, the late Mr. O-P was making fruitcake. It was as much of a tradition for him as was putting up a tree. I had never made a fruitcake before, so this tradition was new to my experience. It is an arduous task, I can tell you. It’s also an expensive one. Over the years as I watched him make this, I had suggested he get a larger bowl. He was a bit of a messy cook under normal circumstances, but this generally made for a kitchen disaster.One spring I was out shopping with my mother, and spotted what I thought would be the perfect fruitcake-making bowl. I made the purchase, lugged the stoneware behemoth to the car, sneaked it into the house, and waited to present it to him at my parents’ annual brunch on Easter Sunday, filled with Easter grass and goodies. It wasn’t the right season, I know, but when you find special things, you need to buy them.

His reaction was a bit different than I had expected. For one thing, it’s heavy. I mean really heavy. When I put it on his lap, I thought the weight was going to send it right onto the floor. The bowl is 14” wide by 9” tall, and weighs 15 pounds. It’s also a real booger to store. He mentioned all of this on the way home in the car. I tend not to think about such things in the throes of shopping passion.

I won’t say that I regretted this purchase, although I did, but because I had bought it, and designated it as the official fruitcake bowl, it became so. Every November it had to be hoisted up from the basement, washed, and pressed into service. I still have that bowl, and let me tell you bringing it up from the basement at my advanced age is not easy. Combine that with the mixing of the fruitcake ingredients, and you’ve got quite the cardio workout.

This is my first year making fruitcake on my own. The year after Jim passed away number two son, Andrew, came to make it with me. After that, I thought I would probably never make a fruitcake again, because the process made me a bit melancholy. This year I cast that aside, dug in, and I’m rather proud of myself. I used this fruitcake as the cover picture for my Christmas card the first year I celebrated as a widow. The recipe was inside. You can also find it here.

As I write this, the bowl is safely stored away on a shelf in the basement, and I’m ready to collapse in a heap. My family likes fruitcake, so they’re eager for their portions come Christmas. Do you have any similar baking equipment that means something special to you? Tell me about it.


Gina said...

I have a gigantic bowl that is very similar. Likely ironstone. It weighs as much as a small child (maybe) and lives in my pantry. But every now and then I think I should pull it down and load it up with potpourri or something and let it live in the open. It was the bread making bowl from my late husband's grandmother. I think you have inspired me to pull it down!

Linda said...

Oh Pattie that cake looks like a masterpiece! Love the story on the bowl.

Marie Smith said...

The recipe makes a lovely fruitcake. It was always for Christmas desserts in our house. Cherry cake is another favourite.

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I neve buy any baking dish that is heavy!!! I always enjoy your stories. BTW. your fruitcake looks fabulous.

Donna said...

I've never bothered to make one. We live not too far from world famous, Collin Street Bakery...famous for their fruitcakes.
I'm SO sorry about your husband! I didn't know you'd lost him.
BIG hugs to you!

Lana said...

I have a huge yellow Pyrex bowl that is painted yellow. My Mom made and raised her bread dough in a bowl like it all my growing up years. I bought mine at an antique store so I would have one like hers. Mom passed away in July this year so it makes me think of her every time I see it in my cupboard.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

I’m sorry about the loss of your mom, Lana. I completely understand buying a similar bowl to the one your mother raised her bread dough in at an antique store. I can see myself doing the same thing