Giving fruit cake for Christmas in old-time Phoenix
Recently as I was paging through the Phoenix newspaper on the Library of Congress site, my eye was caught by a 1919 ad for the Phoenix Bakery advertising fruit cake, which they called the "Christmas Gift Deluxe". I also noted that they had been in business since 1881. And it got me thinking about fruit cake in general.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I've never tasted fruit cake. It's possible that I did when I was a kid, as I do remember seeing them at my grandma's. She also had wax fruit in a bowl, and I may have tasted those, too. If so, I can't imagine that they tasted very different. And I really am wondering now if fruit cake, which is such a running joke nowadays, since as the ad says it "will keep indefinitely" if maybe when they were made in 1919, or 1881, they tasted good back then. Or at least to the people in old-time Phoenix? And so I'm imagining myself in those days.
I really have no idea how unusual it would have been for an ordinary person like me to eat something like a fruit cake in old-time Phoenix. Maybe it was a big deal, maybe people ate them all of the time, I don't know. Based on the ad, it sounds like since it was the "Christmas Gift Deluxe" it wasn't something people ate every day. If your family ate fruit cake every day in old-time Phoenix, please let me know!
By the way, I calculated the fruit cake that "kept indefinitely" if it were made then it would be over 100 years old. It might have kept, but I wouldn't want to taste it! You can have my slice, I'll just have another cup of coffee.
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Posted by Brad Hall