Saturday, December 05, 2015

Five. Fruitcake and Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory


Day 5. Fruitcake Weather

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (1956)
of the Christmas when he was 10 years old
Excerpt from the opening lines

Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.

A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable--not unlike Lincoln's craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. "Oh my," she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, "it's fruitcake weather!"

Such a day showed up in November here in our household one day not that long ago. And so the recipe for Marie's Light Fruitcake was found, ingredients gathered, and the large mixing bowl brought up from the downstairs pantry. This year I was in charge of measuring and lining the pans with parchment, while Hubby did the important chopping, stirring, mixing, and filling of the pans. 

The loaves baked in a slow oven for over two hours; so you can well imagine the aroma filling the kitchen by that time. As the pans sat on the kitchen table cooling, the fragrance of lemon and essence of almond and vanilla was so tantalizing I was sorely tempted to cut the crust off one loaf and just stuff it in my mouth. Forget about letting the loaves cool or ripen for several weeks.

Fortunately hubby and I thought as one on this particular idea, and so we took a loaf, set it on the cutting board, and sliced two generous pieces, cutting those each in half so we could both enjoy a crispy crust and a softer slice still warm on the inside. Oh my ...  it was heavenly.

Now, while you're munching on a bit of Christmas baking along with your steaming cup of tea, if you don't have a copy of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote as illustrated by Beth Peck (I love her artwork), or if you don't have any version of this short story in your holiday anthologies, below is a lovely reading of the author's vintage memoir -- it's a treat this time of year for kids young and old:

I feel happy ... I hope you do too!



  1. I haven't read that story by Truman Capote. I shall look for it. I like fruitcake, and that's a good descriptor to remember--fruitcake weather! Fun :)

  2. Oh I love that story and the movie with Patty Duke. I have trouble finding that one. You certainly have had some fruitcake weather right in your own kitchen. Sounds delightful.

  3. I have not heard of this story before. I'll listen to it when I have some time to dedicate to it. Fruitcake is not a favorite of mine, but hubby loves it. The description "fruitcake weather" is a good one.

  4. I haven't read this one for years. Lovely story and I love the illustrations by Peck in this version.

  5. I could almost smell that delicious fruit cake. You couldn't leave it to mature!

  6. Such a wonderful story. I have a brother in law who would love that fruitcake. xo Laura

  7. I so enjoyed listening to the story, Brenda! And I got quite a lot of ironing done :-)

  8. I liked this your photo of fruitcake so much. I'd really like to try to bake it. I was searching on the internet but there were some other recipes as it seems to me. Maybe you could give me yours?

  9. I wanted something different this year than my usual fruitcake so made the Dundee cakes which are tasty as well. I've since baked loaves with lots of red cherries in, also a new recipe. Your cake looks decadent Brenda with all the fruit and nuts...and definitely delicious when sliced warm.

  10. Oh, I'll have to listen to this soon! Thanks Brenda!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo