Monday, November 26, 2007

Beware the Kraken from the Deep

Here is a nice article about squid and culture.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fruit Cakes

Today I made fruit cakes. It is the first time that I tried cooking fruit cakes and it went reasonably well. I got my Mother's recipe a few weeks ago and have been collecting the ingredients since then. The old family recipe calls for about US$100 of fruit, nuts, brandy, and the more usual cake ingredients such as eggs and flour. When I went looking for things like mixed peel, and candied cherries I found that none of the local supermarkets carried them. In fact, when I asked I got looked at as if I had asked for dried human flesh. Apparently the people of suburban Maryland do not do much Christmas baking. Anyhow, thanks to the gourmet food shop I was able to get everything that I needed.

I started the process at about 10:00 AM this morning, and I just finished it before sitting down to write this, at about 09:30 PM. The total fruit cake making time was about eleven and a half hours. About half of that time was spent with the cakes cooking, and most of the rest of it was waiting for them to cool down so that they could be wrapped and stored. Now I need to figure out how to ice them, and then the big challenge will be figuring out how to eat four large fruit cakes. In retrospect I should have made a half recipe.

Why did I make fruit cakes? Well, to start with I like them. Many people claim to hate them, but my Mom's fruit cake recipe is far superior to anything that I have ever bought. Secondly, I wanted to make sure that the recipe lives on. My Mom is getting on in years and probably does not have a lot of fruit cake making years left in her. I want to make sure that I learn how to cook them while I still have the chance. Finally, there is nothing quite like walking into a house that smells of Christmas baking.

So, if you are in Maryland near where 295 and 495 meet this Christmas season drop me an e-mail and come on over for a slice of fruit cake and perhaps some gløgg (assuming that I can figure out the spices). There is way more than Joan and I will ever be able to eat by ourselves.