Friday, December 24, 2010

Fruitcake Memories Complete with Promotion Idea

This post comes to you as a combination Christmas wish and an example of how you might prepromote a book. It is from a series of sort of nonrecipe that are included in the memoir that is now being shopped by agent extraordinaire Terrie Wolf.  I'm publishing one in each issue of my newsletter and will eventually recycle them onto a special Here's How I Don't Cook blog. You will find other ideas for prepublishing promotions and promotions to use once book sales begin to get stale in The Frugal Book Promoter, too. But mostly I just hope you enjoy this, a real recipe from my grandmother, long deceased--a recipe you won't want to try! 

From Carolyn’s Coming Memoir/NoCookbook:

Grandma’s Inedible Fruit Cake

~1 C. Shortening

~5 eggs, separated. Add the white last.

~ 1 cup flour

~1/2 tsp salt

~1/2 tsp ground cloves

~1 1/2 lb raisins

~/2 lb. walnuts-chopped (now here's the thing. If one is harkening back to the 40s, one must buy the walnuts with their shells still on. Or one must pick the walnuts and unhusk them, black gunk under the fingernails. And these walnuts must be shelled by hand using nutcrackers and picks and some shell bits must be left with the meats—though that will certainly be easy enough to do if one isn't too meticulous. Part of the charm of this cake, put very simply, is that one was always in danger of cracking a tooth or worse.

~1 cup sweet wine or sweet fruit juice. (Mind you, the fruit juice here is to appease those Mormons who didn't admit to stocking anything stronger in their pantry or who didn't want to go to the state run liquor store to buy it. They might, after all, be seen by the neighbors there. Grandma, for the record, used Dago Red Wine or Apricot Brandy but not nearly enough of it to make this cake either moist enough or get those who ate it drunk enough to appreciate it!

~2 cups brown sugar

~1 tsp baking powder

~1 tsp cinnamon

~1 tbls cocoa

~1 lb. brilliant mix (For the uninitiated these are the bright little fruits, all glossy, that look a bit like Gummy Bears, only brighter and more cube-shaped rather than bear shaped. Come to think of it, cut up Gummy Bears might do very nicely.)

Cream sugar and shorting until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk one at a time. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with liquid. Add fruit and nuts (flour all fruit and nuts before adding so they won't settle to the bottom).

Bake 2 1/2 or 3 hours in wax paper-lined loaf pans (Can you still buy wax paper at the grocery store?). Do not remove from paper-lined pans.

Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. Turn oven down to 250 degrees for one hour and 45 minutes. Test with a toothpick because cakes make take longer to bake.

Make in October and keep in a drawer. Wrap it in whiskey or wine-soaked dishtowels. Wet the cloths with more booze as they dry out. When fully stewed with wine, the cakes may be wrapped in foil and frozen.

My cousin Kathi notes "This doesn't all seem to make sense—all this separating of the eggs and changing of oven temperatures—but then this was always a cake without peer. (-:”And yes, she did write in the happy face.

And here is a quote from Grandma Ruthie's mother-in-law, Sarah Jane Browell Howard (who, God forbid, may have given Ruthie the recipe!)

"Anyone can be a good cook if they can go to the store and buy whatever they need. A good cook goes to her cupboard and fixes a meal from what she finds there."

Kathy's mom, Helen Graff Howard, always had to make sure the canning jars came out even. Apparently a number seven was not acceptable. And Kathi remembers that "we'd have to wait until November 1st to eat anything we'd canned." No reason, certainly. Grandma always was foisting small loaves of fruitcake on anyone too polite not to accept them (and everyone was too polite!) up to Christmas and beyond. Heavens! Wonder if we could have eaten the fruitcake before that, maybe it would have been moister and a tad more edible. Of course, it the nut shells would still have broken your teeth.

Watch for my memoir (Here's How I Don't Cook), now being shopped by super-agent Terrie Wolf. And keep your fingers crossed for her success. Please!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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