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Corby Kummer on BPR, 12/18/2018

Is The Christmas Fruitcake Dead?

FRUITCAKES
Trappist Monks, Brother Simin and Brother Tobia, right, inject freshly baked fruitcakes with rum before glazing them and topping them with red and green colored grapes and pecans Nov. 13, 2002, in Ava, Mo. Less than one ounce of rum is used per fruitcake.
Ryan Hasler/AP
Listen
Corby Kummer on BPR, 12/18/2018

Is the Christmas fruitcake doomed?

This one-time holiday staple has been dwindling in popularity in recent years. A 2015 survey from Public Policy Polling found that only 38 percent of Americans agreed that fruitcake is good.

Corby Kummer, food writer and senior editor for The Atlantic, said the main reason is that the rum-soaked cake's main selling point — its ability to stay fresh for a long period of time — has mostly outlived its usefulness.

"In the days of ancient mail in which you shipped things by boat, you could send beautifully wrapped little tiny squares of fruitcake to all the people who were fancy, but not fancy enough to get an invitation to the wedding," he said.

In fact, British royals today are still in the habit of using fruitcake as their wedding cake so the top tiers can be saved and eaten at the christenings of their children.

"That's always been the appeal of fruitcake," Kummer said. "There's no other appeal, unless you like rum-soaked fruit."

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