My culinary skills do not match those of the light of my life, and the jobs I was given reflected that. No judgement required. I was a measurer and combiner of ingredients, the quantities dictated by the chef. There were several ingredient substitutions along the way. The head of the Operation Fruitcake prefers to use dried fruit rather than the candied fruits found in most fruitcakes. Then there’s the chocolate chips…
There were a couple of setbacks; fruitcake apparently calls for grape juice, and we had none. Not to be deterred, the woman in charge, showing the creative flair in the kitchen that I utterly lack, remembered juice boxes we had bought to drink on road trips. Not quite the same, but who knows? It might be a new secret recipe.
While I mixed the dry ingredients the chef concentrated on the wet bowl. (I was given the opportunity to break the eggs, but I declined. For all I talk about cooking eggs, this skill remains elusive for me.) Finally we worked together to combine wet and dry, and had approximately twelve pounds of sweet cakey goo. Mmm… goo.
Putting the goo into the cake pans required more finesse than I would have guessed, but finally we had ten little fruitcakes ready to go into the oven. Time required: fifty minutes. Time it usually takes my sweetie without my help: about an hour and fifteen minutes. Yes, my help was actually helpful, if only a bit.
Naturally, as the participant performing the tasks that one might delegate to a ten-year-old, it fell on me to lick the spoon. Sometimes this cooking business can be rough, but as a team player I had no choice.
A few hours later the cakes were finally done (long time at low heat is the way of the fruitcake), and we pulled out our lovely loaves. The finishing touch, the brandy, was lovingly applied by the chef, and the fruitcakes were done.
The following night the resident culinary genius made a batch of her signature white chocolate fruitcake, but alas she had to do so without my mixing-things skills. Somehow I don’t think the quality of the cakes suffered as a result. The cherry booze we got to anoint the white fruitcakes wasn’t very cherry-ful, so we added some Grand Marnier to fruit it up a bit. It’s this sort of improvisation that turns out great for my sweetie. I’m looking forward to tasting how it turned out this time.