If you start obsessively grabbing orange, and grapefruit peels from your family scolding them that, "Those can be candied", you're probably British. Or you like fruitcake. Either way, by now you should have a pretty good store set in, and be ready to do something with it all.
I collect fruitcake recipes. I have hundreds. I always make the same fruitcake-actually, I bake three because one ends up a Simnel Cake for Mothering Sunday. I still have one in cold storage from last year that we're going to break open this weekend. Booze and sugar-are there any better preservatives, or happier words to the human ear? I think not.
Mind, I already did the initial steaming on the Christmas puddings. If nothing else, I'm terribly efficient, and organised. This is partly due to Danny having a birthday five days before Christmas-I could never manage elaborate Birthday doings, and the holidays were I to start out late. Besides, you should let puddings and Christmas cakes soak in booze for several weeks before serving, whereas this is generally frowned upon in the preparation of children's Birthday cakes. Ah, the good old days when your uncle would show up for Christmas with those brandy filled chocolate candies for the children. Bonus fun-he was a family court judge! Yeah, I guess things have changed a bit over the last forty years...anyhoo, no booze for the wee ones means more for you, and your Christmas cake.
Because we're a bunch of nut-allergic freaks, (though quickly becoming the prevailing norm, at least in the Western world) the cakes need to be nut-free. I compensate with generous amounts of fruit, but toasted coconut makes a swell nut replacement in baking. Some people crush up pretzels, which I am interested to try.
I can't make all these cakes by myself. Oh sure, I could make them, but I could never find enough people to eat them. That's where you, readers come in.
Lets have a blog party where we bake Christmas/fruitcakes. I'll link to your posts, and we can keep a running tab leading up to the holidays. Meanwhile, I'll post a directory of recipes from my collection to try (with the warning that they haven't been tested). We could even do an exchange-secret Santa (or if you prefer, secret secularist) style. Come-on people, it isn't like these things ever spoil. You make it once, and eat it for months!
Drop me a line at cornmotherne at yahoo dot blah-blah (suck it spammers) when you bake your cake. No blog? (why the hell not?!) you can send me a jpg. and we'll figure it out. Come on now, don't make me go all War on Christmas because you wouldn't bake with me.
I'll set up another blog for it if we get enough interest. So spread the word...or I'm serious, I'll start-up the John Dewey blog again.