Happy Holidays From All Of Us To All Of You
December 16, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It’s hard to believe, but when January rolls around, we will start publishing the 30th volume of The Four Hundred. This is a long time to do anything, and many editors have come and gone with this publication over the years – some down other career paths, others being stopped in their tracks on this path and leaving this world too early. We are honored to have worked with them all and to do the work of serving the AS/400, iSeries, System i, and IBM i community, and we carry on this work in their honor.
This time of the year, when we make it through what usually feels like a challenging year, is getting harder as the years go by because some of our comrades are gone. This is something that any relationship with longevity has to cope with, whether in work or in life, and frankly, I was never very good at trying to separate the two and that is what makes me comfortable in the IBM i community. None of us are good at that separation. That is our strength, and it brings me joy, particularly in the tough times.
In the end, it is the simple act of being useful, of telling stories to illustrate good technology and good people, that keeps us going. This is a gift, not just once a year at holidays, but every day we wake up and do the work we do. There are few things as valuable as this, and we are forever grateful for the honor that is bestowed upon us by our readers and our partners in advertising and content.
And so, we come to the end of 2019 and look ahead to serving our readers and our partners in 2020. But in the interim, it is time to bake cookies and fruitcakes and if I get some time, maybe brew some hard cider and beer, and for all of us here at IT Jungle to spend time with our children without deadlines looming.
I have been a little insane with the fruitcakes this year, with 48 loaves baked last week and very little time to get fondant on them all and get them into the mail before Christmas starts. This recipe has evolved over the past 20 years, if you can believe it, and I think I have it down to a science at this point and I look forward to baking them and giving them away to family and friends each year. The number of cakes needed keeps growing, which is a good indicator. Here’s what the dry fruit looks like, which is 150 ounces of all kinds of dried and candied fruit:
Here is what it looks like after the batter is mixed in, which requires a wooden spoon the size of a small shovel:
This stuff is a bit like conglomerate concrete, although it tastes good as you might imagine a batter with vanilla, red wine, and bourbon might. Here is a batch of eight cakes in the oven:
And here is what they looked like when they came out:
And finally, here they are soaking in their tins after being doused in kirsch:
Now, on to make enough fondant to cover each cake, which I make by hand and which will take a few days to complete. I will update this story with a picture when I have them all finished.
When it is all done, each fruitcake is a four-pound medieval energy bar, absolutely impervious to bacteria thanks to the high sugar and high alcohol content. This is why one bakes fruitcake, after all. You need some sustenance that you can count on during the dark times of winter, and what could be more life affirming than that?
I haven’t really changed the recipe much in recent years, but as I age, I have jacked up with spices a bit. I am adding four tablespoons of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice this year instead of three tablespoons as I did when I published the recipe here back in 2011. (See Happy Holidays And the PM 2011 Edition Fruitcake Recipe for that recipe.)
Peace and Joy to you all, and see you in a few weeks.