Thursday Morning Open Thread: Tis the Season

In the spirit of letting y’all get your cranky on, a seasonal opinion: I actually like a good fruitcake, once a year. High-quality preserved fruits and nuts, in a rich batter, preferably non-alcoholic since the calories are quite enough of a dietary violation. Just because most of the products made or sold as fruitcakes aren’t any good, impugning the fruitcake has become a folk tradition — mostly, IMO, because it’s a once-a-year foodstuff released during the ‘Joyous Season’, when cooks are too busy to practice and eaters are looking for something they can jointly abuse without being called scrooges.

There’s any amount of truly lousy pizza produced every damned day of the year, but people don’t feel called to denounce the very concept of pizza because school cafeterias and Sbarros have an outsized market share. If you don’t like fruitcake, don’t eat fruitcake. More for those of us who do!

180 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    eaters are looking for something they can jointly abuse without being called scrooges.

    What’s wrong with being called a scrooge?

  2. 2
    sukabi says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: nothing, if that’s your thing.

    Blech. 😜

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Christmas is for cookies.

  4. 4
    Poptartacus says:

    Martha Stewart fruitcake is the best
    Drenched in brandy

  5. 5
    SectionH says:

    Stop being sensible about tastes, AL. That could lead to actual harmony or something stupid like that.

    Mr S and I, and now a restaurant guy we like, have been starting a list of vaguely edible things we hope to never have to eat ™

    maggot cheese from Sardinia (3 out of 3) NO
    witchity grubs (I don’t need to be macho, 2 guys agree) 3 / 3 NO)
    anything actually living at that point (3 of 3) NO

    It’s kinda hypocritical, if you eat dead animals. But culture is strong. I love shrimp and eat them happily. Where are the lines drawn? I will NOT eat Octopus ever again, but I still eat pieces of dead pigs sometimes, and pigs’re pretty intelligent too.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sukabi: It’s my life.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😀😀😀

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Anne Laurie says:

    @SectionH: In an early Get Fuzzy strip, Satchel the dog earnestly explains, “You’d be surprised how many things are edible that aren’t actually food.” (Which is, of course, very true to Dog Nature; the motto on Dog’s coat of arms reads You Gonna Finish That? — and always in the vulgate.)

    Sometimes the Spousal Unit & I will read or hear about some of the exotic cookery items you mention, and repeat “You’d be surprised… “ to each other.

  10. 10
    p.a. says:

    Octopus. Yum

    Had rum cake for TGiving, including fruit and some candied fruit. It was good. Color me surprised. Of course I had been drinking…

  11. 11
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I love Jamaican black cake which is a well blended fruit cake soaked in rum. Can’t tolerate the ones in most grocery stores though. Those are an acquired taste.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    What are your experiences with CBD oil?

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Raven: It doesn’t have the viscosity of 5w-20 so I wouldn’t use it in a 5.7L Hemi.

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: 4bolt main 350?

  15. 15
    Mary G says:

    @Raven: I use it, not a miracle cure like people say, but my joints bother me less than without it and it makes my sleep much better.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Raven: IIRC a 350 needs 10w-30 but it’s been a few years.

  17. 17
    Phylllis says:

    @Raven: I started on CBD capsules from Bluebird Botanicals about 12 days ago. Chronic knee pain has mostly disappeared, and my snack/sweet tooth seems to have gone away as well.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    If you are afraid of heights, don’t watch this: Free Solo.

  19. 19
    Anne Laurie says:


    What are your experiences with CBD oil?

    Started giving it to the 17-year-old dog right after Thanksgiving, because he’s gotten so picky about eating we couldn’t keep weight on him. It has improved his appetite enough (as long as we’re willing to hand-feed him stuff like pizza, hamburgers & chicken empanadas) that the Spousal Unit is no longer afraid the old boy will starve to death.

    Since we’ve got the bottle on hand, I’m trying to get it into the 14-year-old dog too, because she’s having more trouble with stairs these days. (Since she bites, forcing pain medication down her throat is *not* an option; so far, she’ll eat a piece of bread injected with a dose of CBD, although she’s dubious about the adulteration.) Too soon to tell if it’s helping her, though.

  20. 20
    Immanentize says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Raven:
    You guys crack me up. First car I had was a handed down ’67 chysler 300 w/ a 440 w/Holley carb. 10w/30 winter in upstate NY, Castrol 20W/50 summertime. That came back to me like it was now.

  21. 21
    Immanentize says:

    Hello All. The solstice approaches.
    Or for the TV crowd, Winter is coming.

  22. 22
    MazeDancer says:

    Like cats? And money? If you live within driving distance of Denver you could have an opportunity to enjoy both.

    A dear friend of mine’s brother scalded himself very badly. He is diabetic, Wounds didn’t heal. After many months on intravenous antibiotics, he is going home. He also has 3 cats. Which he loves. But docs are worried about increased infection risk.

    He also has early dementia. The cats are obese. As is he. And the can’t keep them clean. And another infection will be impossible on his system.

    My friend has means and has been throwing money at trying to solve his many problems for years. But right now, is hoping to find someone to foster a cat or two. Food, litter, vet bills all paid. Plus generous stipend.

    Posted this once before, but wanted to make sure people saw. Contact me through, if interested. And thanks.

  23. 23
    Immanentize says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I went to see the movie Free Solo in the theater near me. Damn, that was amazing climbing and amazing filming. At one point in the movie, the cameraman had to look away from the climber —

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    @MazeDancer: Good luck. I would take a cat, if I was not on the East Coast.

    Check your email addy. You are not that pist this early in the morning, I hope.

  25. 25
    Immanentize says:

    @Elizabelle: It’s gotta be noon somewhere!

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    Good morning jackals.

    Baud: all the best to you. Come back, soonest.

    Enjoying the Christmas music played on classical stations. Into the holiday mood.

    @Patricia Kayden: I would love to try your Jamaican Black (rum) Cake. Do you have a recipe, or know of a good one.

    It might be fun to do a fruitcakes thread this week, nonhuman variety.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: 10,000 unemployed comedians and here we are giving it away for free.

    I’d like to see FS at the Imax if it goes there.

  28. 28
    Elizabelle says:

    @Poptartacus: Here’s the Martha Stewart recipe you recommended, allegedly. It’s Mrs. Maus’s fruitcake (Mrs. M being a neighbor while Martha was growing up in Nutley, NJ; not the Spiegelman cartoon character although that’s the mnemonic for this recipe).

    One of the commenters mentioned a family fruitcake made with damson with lemon preserves, and served with hard sauce, and now I want that recipe too.

    Here’s Martha writing about Mr. and Mrs. Maus:

    I think about Mr. and Mrs. Robert Maus a lot. They were our jolly German-born neighbors who lived right next door to our house at 86 Elm Place. Retired bakers, having sold their profitable bakery in Newark, New Jersey, they were anything but retired from their art. Still enamored of flour and sugar and butter and cream and fresh and dried fruits and nuts …

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    Found whilst poking around the interwebs, from Michael Cohen’s campaign literature for his 2003 run for NYC council (unsuccessfully; he lost by 8400 votes). Emphasis added.

    Governor George Pataki has recognized my passion for improving New York. Recently, he appointed me to the MTA’s Inspector General Management Advisory Board, where I serve as a public watchdog against corruption in government. Source

  30. 30
    MazeDancer says:


    CBD oil is a miracle.

    For animals. And people.

    Dosing is tricky. Every being is different. But if you get no results, up the dose. Also, you must use a legit, organic, well-sourced product. Which, alas, ain’t cheap. But so worth it.

  31. 31
    Barbara says:

    I have had fruitcakes I liked, including stollens and panettones, which are made with yeast. I want to try the GBBS Christmas Cake recipe from Mary Berry:

  32. 32
    MazeDancer says:


    Laughng. Not Pist. IPad keyboard before coffee always results with something.

    Apologies for URL typo, folks. If you are interested in paid cat fostering opportunity, please click on my nym, and scroll down, click “contact”

  33. 33
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Elizabelle: I have to confess that I’ve never made it. A family friend used to make it for my birthday every year and I’d pig out even though I got hives from the eggs. It was that good. LOL.

    Anyway, here is a recipe you could try. It’s quite delicious and you can put white icing on it if you like.

  34. 34
    Butch says:

    The book has actually been around for a while but Sandra Boynton’s Christmastime includes a chapter on a game called Pass the Fruitcake, where a fruitcake is passed from household to household as a gift and the loser is the first one to “bite.” (Boynton pens the cards that feature the cartoon animals.)

  35. 35
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning rikyrah and everyone 😊.
    @Raven: I had trouble getting the big arthritic dog to take the oil but I got CBD gummies and those work better. Easier to give him a appropriate dose too. I think it helps his arthritis a bit, he seems less stiff.

  36. 36
    MattF says:

    Speaking of fruitcake, Mr. Gingrich visited the WH yesterday and rumor is that Noot on the CoS list. Or, y’know, maybe Callista.

    ETA: I have never eaten fruitcake, or even gotten close enough to one to eat it.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    satby says:

    Baud: all the best to you. Come back, soonest.

    Thanks @Elizabelle: , that goes from all of us.

    @MazeDancer: just a thought, they should contact animal rescues in the area because most have a roster of foster homes and a self funded one would be very attractive.

  39. 39
    Platonailedit says:

    Reminder: Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina is scheduled to make her guilty plea official today in federal court.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 13, 2018

  40. 40
    Betty Cracker says:

    @MazeDancer: Fixed it for you, though I kind of like “PistCards” — that could be a spin-off where you send nasty messages to people at whom you’re pissed in America or compose postcards to people while drunk in the UK. :)

  41. 41
    satby says:

    @Immanentize: winter has been here for two months! Though I do look forward to the solstice because the days will start getting longer again.

  42. 42
    Barbara says:

    @MattF: Trump could actually do worse than Gingrich, but ye gods, two gargantuan egos continually colliding with each other would eventually explode. Probably speaks to their mutual desperation.

  43. 43
    Barbara says:

    @satby: Did I miss news about Baud?

  44. 44
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Butch: I’ll forgive her because I love Boynton, but I never understood the fruitcake hatred. I’ve always loved it. There is always a stack of fruitcakes in stores from these guys in our area and somebody’s buying them.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    @MattF: Gingrich as Chief of staff? Wouldn’t that be insane? Implosion faster!

  46. 46
    satby says:

    @Barbara: Baud’s elderly dog was doing very poorly, and Baud asked us to keep her in our thoughts as her time was short.

  47. 47
    MattF says:

    @satby: Implosion and then explosion. Thermonuclear.

  48. 48
    Barbara says:

    @satby: It’s the hardest part of having a four legged friend. So sorry.

  49. 49
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Barbara: I’d kind of like to see Newt experience the Shit Midas Touch. Maybe he’ll end up jailed and plea bargaining too.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    My old granny used to give each of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren a fruitcake every Christmas. It was godawful, so I grew up thinking ALL fruitcake was horrible. We used to joke about accumulating bricks of Granny’s fruitcake to use as pavers.

    But because I try to be open-minded, I’ve sampled allegedly good fruitcake over the years, and the best thing I can say about 99% of the fruitcake I tried is that it’s not all as awful as my granny’s.

    The best fruitcake I ever ate is Mrs. Harvey’s white fruitcake, which is famous in the Tampa Bay area. It’s actually pretty good! But given the choice between a slice of that or a hunk of mediocre pound cake, I’ll take the pound cake every day of the week, including Christmas.

  51. 51
    Greg Ferguson says:

    Best disquisition I know on fruitcake is Julia’s in “From Julia Child’s Kitchen”, with a long sidebar on what makes good candied fruit good, and why it is almost impossible to find in the US (c. mid-1970’s, anyway). Worth reading, even if u hate the stuff or the concept.

  52. 52
    Barbara says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: I have noticed at events where people bring desserts to share that for many people desserts have become cloyingly sweet confections without much of a flavor element beyond sugar. Fruitcake inhabits a different era.

  53. 53
    MazeDancer says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Thanks, Betty!

    PistCards is def a line extension worth exploring. Thinking, maybe, February. Near the 14th. For those Pist at the “holiday”. Or an ex-celebrant of same.

  54. 54
    Nicole says:


    What are your experiences with CBD oil?

    The coffee shop near us will sell you a “Flower Power” coffee with CBD oil in it. I like it. Having never been stoned, I can’t say if it makes me feel anything like that, but it does take the edge off my anxiety. I don’t do it every day, but it’s a nice treat a time or two a week.

    No opinion on fruitcake. I don’t like it, but I don’t like cake as a rule. Picky about fruit, too.

  55. 55
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MattF: You’re missing out.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @MazeDancer: I used to love occasionally visiting The site is no longer active, I think the host moved on to other things.

    They’ve left a hole in the universe that PistCards could fill.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    NotMax says:


    Chief of staff? Disaster incarnate.

    Chief of staph? A shoo-in.

  60. 60
    MazeDancer says:


    My friend tried the Denver rescue groups we could find online. No interest. Which surprised me. “Please take my money” is usually an appealling entry to non-profits.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Thank you. That recipe is an education.

    Love that some people soak the fruit in alcohol for months or a year before baking, so they have it on hand. One commenter said she was not allowed to transport alcohol back to the States, so they poured their entire bar into dried fruits and it made some amazing cakes over the next years. That’s ingenuity.

  62. 62
    Kay says:

    As of October 8, CBD oil is illegal in Ohio.

    Recently, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy decided that all marijuana products, including CBD oil, can only be sold in a licensed medical marijuana control program dispensary. All products must have a known source, as well as known quantities of active ingredients.

    Police here went around and told to stores to take it off shelves. They said they wouldn’t treat it as a criminal matter- they would first inform people it was illegal- but there’s already one county prosecutor who brought felony charges when they found it in a vehicle during a traffic stop.

  63. 63
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @SectionH: I guess you’re not a candidate for seagull wine or mouse wine then. (Liquor with dead whatever’s in it)

    I’ve had octopus in several forms, including sushi and as tapas in Spain. I love it. I can see where the very visible stickers might put you off, but no more than the soft-crab sandwich which is a Baltimore favorite. (A whole crab, legs and all, just after molting its shell).

    It kind of fascinated me when I lived there that people who might not otherwise be adventurous eaters would happily eat things like soft crab and raw clams.

  64. 64
    Kay says:

    I didn’t even know it was illegal until last Friday, when we went to dinner with a police officer and his wife. I had a client who was/is some kind of franchise wholesaler and he gave me a bottle months ago, which I can’t find. I know I didn’t take it home so it’s somewhere in the office.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) Tweeted:
    THREAD RE INDICTING PRESIDENT. Trump’s defenses to campaign finance vio crumbling rapidly, partic after AMI admission. I predict the only thing he has left is idea sitting President cant be indicted. This thread fleshes out aspects of that, expands on NYT

  66. 66
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @rikyrah: Gee, I wonder what ME countries he thinks tried to influence the election?

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    He needs to be primaried.😡😡

    Kayla Avery (@averykayla) Tweeted:
    Seth Moulton falsely claimed tonight in his Town Hall that the “democrats have flat out refused to make any changes to ACA” & the “current leadership believes the ACA to be perfect”. @TopherSpiro @TVietor08

  68. 68
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Wow. I gotta try that one.

  69. 69
    germy says:

    @rikyrah: Is Moulton a GOP operative or is he just a Democrat with the same donors as Republicans? He seems to be doing someone’s bidding.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    ronald alexander (@djchefron) Tweeted:
    The Trump Family Is Strangling the American Republic With Conflicts of Interest via @Esquire

  71. 71
    MattF says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’re suggesting that I leave the warm confines of my den, then somehow obtain a fruitcake, then eat a piece of it? Sounds unlikely.

  72. 72
    germy says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    It kind of fascinated me when I lived there that people who might not otherwise be adventurous eaters would happily eat things like soft crab and raw clams.

    I remember a line from the old “All In The Family” show: Archie is offered a beef tongue sandwich and he recoils in disgust: “I ain’t eating anything that came out of an animal’s mouth! Edith! Go fry me some eggs!”

  73. 73
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I love to eat more than I like to bake so I’d eat some of yours. LOL.

  74. 74
    rikyrah says:

    ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) Tweeted:
    Last night the image of @NancyPelosi calmly walking away after blowing up Trump’s plan was projected on the San Francisco Federal Building

  75. 75
    rikyrah says:

    Uh huh
    Uh huh 😒 😒

    Makes you wonder 🤔🤔

  76. 76
    germy says:

    I wonder why Don junior is admitting something like this now?

    Quite the self-own. Don Jr. on his father's gifts to him: "I’m the namesake, so I got regifted all of the things that were monogrammed for him … There was one Christmas where he may or may not have given me the gift that I had given him the year before."

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 13, 2018

  77. 77

    @rikyrah: Interesting thread, though any tweet that starts with “Trump must know” is questionable IMHO. Donald Snow Trump knows nothing.

  78. 78
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I recall the anti-fruitcake jokes becoming a thing during the 1980s, when most Americans still could not get good fruitcake at all. It was a reaction to the gross 1970s-80s Christmas fruitcake that came in a round metal can, with the unnaturally colored bits of candied fruit-like substance in it. That was the only kind you usually encountered. As in that Boynton book, the joke was that it was an eternally re-gifted default gift like the candle in the Saturday Night Live sketch.

    Today, you can get good fruitcake, but the jokes about how nobody likes fruitcake are sort of a cultural relic.

  79. 79
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Best fruitcake ever-always moist, but super sweet….

    Small bakery in Cincinnati

  80. 80
    Ken says:

    @MattF: Anyone starting a pool on how long Gingrich will serve as CoS? I’m thinking the very low end of the scale, though I’m vacillating on why he leaves. The most likely reason is of course that he tells Trump to do something (“It’s 2 PM, sir, you have to turn off the TV and get out of bed”).

    But I think there’s also a chance he takes the job, settles into the office, and gets halfway through being briefed on the current status before running screaming from the building.

  81. 81
    rikyrah says:

    These evil azz muthaphuckas 😡😡

    Suave Hellion (@HeWhoLovesWords) Tweeted:
    The Trump gov’t put out a call, asking legal immigrants to sponsor some of the 1,000’s of kids in cages. Desperate to help, 170 kind ppl stepped up, hoping to finally free the kid from captivity.

    Turns out, it was a sting operation. Then came the arrests.

  82. 82
    Ken says:

    @germy: Doubly amusing, since it also admits that Don Jr. can’t remember what he got his father for Christmas the previous year.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    rikyrah says:


    Elizabeth C. McLaughlin (@ECMcLaughlin) Tweeted:
    .@maddow with the graphic of the night: the four people who currently don’t have immunity or a plea deal, and are implicated in campaign finance fraud.

    I leapt off the couch and cheered.

  85. 85
    Amir Khalid says:

    Ahem. Allow me a pedant’s pile-on:
    Donald Jr doesn’t even use the word “namesake” right. A namesake is where the name comes from, not where it goes to. Donald Sr is the namesake here, not Donald Jr.

  86. 86
    Gelfling 545 says:

    Actually I love the fruitcake I make. It’s moist and rich and spicy with apricots, dates, dried cherries, dried papaya if I can get and just a sprinkling of “fruitcake mix” fruits for color. Candied orange peel (home made), nuts and sometimes golden raisins but never the other kind which I hate. Also brandy and Grand Marnier. It’s quite a production which is why once a year is enough.

  87. 87
    rikyrah says:

    Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) Tweeted:
    #RockHall2019: Radiohead, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies to be inducted

  88. 88
    germy says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Donald Jr doesn’t even use the word “namesake” right.

    These are not educated people, despite their “pedigree” (his father can barely spell) so it’s not surprising junior makes mistakes like this.

  89. 89
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    Butch says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: It’s actually a really funny chapter and….my family decided to stop exchanging gifts for Christmas this year (long story, although it’s actually a good thing) except that I insisted my niece still send me one of her holiday fruitcakes, which I love…..I am not anti-fruitcake.

  91. 91

    @Butch: My DIL makes a fruitcake that’s pecans with just enough dough to hold them together. None of those candied fruit things that basically taste like gummy bears.

  92. 92
    zhena gogolia says:

    I miss Baud.

    I hate fruitcake, no matter how fancy.

    Anybody here watch Mrs. Maisel? We just started it. It’s amusing and the lead actress is very skilled, but I can’t see her as Jewish. Because she isn’t. Kind of spoils it for me. Why isn’t that considered “cultural appropriation”?

  93. 93
    germy says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Well, I’m not well educated and I have no pedigree.

  94. 94

    Trump is up and tweeting. First, Mexico is paying for the wall because NAFTA changes saved us so much money. Then a series of tweets about Cohen is totally at fault but campaign finance stuff wasn’t a crime in the first place. Blah, blah. I’m not sure he’s writing these himself. There’s no random capitalization or exclamation points. Also, one tweet spells “counsel” correctly.

  95. 95
    Kathleen says:

    @MattF: I hope this happens. A comedy writer’s dream.

  96. 96
    Elizabelle says:

    @Gelfling 545: Will you share the recipe? (If not, just enjoy.)

    We really should do a holiday treats recipe thread.

  97. 97
    Raven says:

    Thanks for the cbd tips. I’m already giving it to Bohdi but I’m thinking about it for myself.

  98. 98
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MattF: Heh. I know I’m a little different in this regard, I never pass up the chance of trying something new. Has to do with the way I was raised, in that we never had to eat anything that was served to us at the dinner table, but we did have to try it. If after trying it we preferred to go hungry, that was our choice. Ma was a very adventurous cook, so I got to eat a lot of strange (to America) things growing up.

  99. 99
    debit says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: I wonder if his purpose is to convince others or himself. We get clients who insist on telling us about something they’ve done that they know is going to be found out (usually after they get a letter from the IRS) and then explain their justification for doing wrong thing, and then press us to reassure them that this reason is going to save their butts. (Narrator voice: It won’t.) It doesn’t matter how many times we gently explain that it doesn’t matter what we think they won’t go away until they’ve convinced themselves they’re going to get away with it. (Narrator voice: They don’t.)

  100. 100
    White & Gold Purgatorian says:

    We like Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake recipe. Real dried fruit, not the red and green stuff. Substitute honey for half the sugar and leave out half of the remaining sugar. They were made late this year so not very boozy. The best ones are made in September and sprayed with brandy once a week until December. Yum.

  101. 101
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Patricia Kayden: My youngest is here for another day or 2 than heading back to New Orleans. Hence my mission for the day is to make a Poteca so he can return to his loving SO with some. I make it the old world way just like my grandmother taught my mother who taught me.

    I love baking.

    ETA I make one every Xmas, my one and only nod to the holidays.

  102. 102
    Betty Cracker says:

    @zhena gogolia: I’m fuzzy on the whole “cultural appropriation” thing. In some cases, it clearly seems wrong to me, e.g., a white actor cast as an Asian character when there are tons of great Asian actors who have a hard time finding jobs and a community that too often doesn’t seem itself represented in popular culture. Other cases seem less clear cut. I haven’t watched Mrs. Maisel, so I’m not sure about that, but imposing a strict standard whereby actors must match fictional characters’ ethnicity seems to go too far. But on the other hand, it seems perfectly reasonable to me that people want to see people like themselves reflected in popular culture. It’s a thorny issue.

  103. 103

    @debit: Yeah, in this case, it’s like Trump thinks that if his base believes him, he’s won. The law doesn’t care. At least, I hope that’s true.

  104. 104
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    It makes me sad when the Oxford English Dictionary is wrong.

  105. 105
    Kay says:


    They got AMI to admit that the “catch and kill” donation AMI made was to influence the election in Trump’s direction.

    That’s the donor admitting it was a campaign contribution. I’m not sure how Trump can say it wasn’t when the donor has already entered into a deal saying it was.

  106. 106
    MomSense says:


    I know a woman in his district who runs a very successful business. She’s a democrat, mother of two, and such a good person. I’m tempted to ask her if she will run for his seat.

  107. 107
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Seconded. The art of acting is playing someone unlike you, and convincing an audience that you are that person.
    ETA: Did you ever see the movie of Pearl S.Buck’s novel The Good Earth, with an all-white cast playing a Chinese family in China? Makes one cringe to see it today.

  108. 108
    geg6 says:

    My grandmother Schnell made the most awesome fruitcake. She would soak cherries and pineapple and apricots and I don’t know what all else all year in apricot brandy. None of those weird red and green cherries…her fruit was the real deal. Lots of nuts, too. She also soaked the cake in alcohol after baking. It would have a nice white icing glaze and she’d have holly decorations on it. It was delicious and kinda buzz inducing to a little kid like me. I loved it. Nobody makes fruitcake that tastes like hers now, though. If I could find one, I’d definitely buy it.

  109. 109
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s just that the ethnic origin is leaned on so heavily in the story — it’s jarring to me that she so obviously isn’t Jewish, but is doing Jewish intonations, etc. Even Tony Shalhoub, whom I love, doesn’t quite compute for me as her father. But I haven’t heard about any protests, and I’m not part of the affected ethnos, so I guess I can’t complain.

  110. 110
    Kay says:

    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    ….guilty even on a civil basis. Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!

    The President is threatening his former lawyer’s family with politically-directed prosecution.

    One of the low quality employees deleted the tweet. This one doesn’t even pass their rock-bottom ethical standards.

    Must be tense in that White House, now that one of them is going to prison. Who’s next?

  111. 111
    geg6 says:


    I read somewhere that there is a movement to get some local woman, can’t remember who she is, to run against him in the next primary. I sure hope he gets an opponent and a woman would be just great.

  112. 112
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    There’s some criticism in this story. Oh well, I’ll keep watching!

  113. 113
    germy says:

    @Amir Khalid: John Wayne played Genghis Khan. Possibly one of the oddest casting choices in history, but not uncommon at the time.

    And isn’t a balloon-juice commenter here named Tilda Swinton’s bald cap or something like that?

  114. 114
    Immanentize says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: in my family (Czech, not Slovenian), those are Buchta, and can be nut or poppy filled. They are among my favorite seasonal treats.

  115. 115
    MomSense says:


    Hmm, the person I’m thinking of runs a major online business with millions of users all over the world. I just sent her an IG message. I wonder if it is the same person I’m thinking of.

  116. 116
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @geg6: The vile Seth Moulton is Joe Lieberman’s spiritual heir, unfortunately.

  117. 117
    Immanentize says:

    @geg6: @MomSense: I heard today that the area’s former state senator, Barbara L’Italian, may run against him. I will give scratch to his opponent.

  118. 118
    germy says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: He’d like to switch parties, but can’t decide which party to switch to.

  119. 119
    rikyrah says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Then a series of tweets about Cohen is totally at fault but campaign finance stuff wasn’t a crime in the first plac


    Nothing about AMI?

    Uh huh
    Uh huh

  120. 120
    germy says:


    “I am politically savvy enough to know that in order to get things for your district, you cannot be challenging the leadership to the extent that Seth Moulton has,” L’Italien said.

  121. 121
    CindyH says:

    De-lurking to ask anyone inclined to give to Dan McCready in NC-09 which as many of you know is fraught with fraud. He withdrew his concession as evidence mounted of stolen ballots and other nefarious actions by the cheating NC GOP.

  122. 122
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: It’s back up now, and you’re right — he’s threatening Cohen’s family with politically motivated prosecution. From what I’ve read previously, it sounds like Cohen’s father-in-law and others might very well be crooks. This whole episode — Trump, Manafort, Cohen, etc. — is a vivid demonstration of the scale of our white collar crime problem.

    But yeah, Trump’s tweet sounds like the latest effort to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses and improperly use the DoJ to conduct a politically motivated vendetta. Will the mainstream Beltway press pick up that? Probably not!

  123. 123

    @rikyrah: Nope. He’s gone quiet for the moment.

  124. 124
    MomSense says:


    I’ll volunteer for a good challenger. That district doesn’t have to be represented by someone like him. They can do much better.

  125. 125
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    I’m not sure how Trump can say it wasn’t when the donor has already entered into a deal saying it was.

    The same way most people say things, he just moves his lips while expelling air thru his vocal chords. Of course he does it with a certain flair of shamelessness i’m not sure anybody else can replicate.

  126. 126
    Kay says:

    The Cohen testimony before the Dem House is going to be good. Especially now that Trump threatened his family.

    I may have to take the day off to watch. It’s a joy to watch these two sleazy crooks go after each other. Hopefully Cohen can bring in some other Trump employees – it wasn’t just Trump and Cohen.

  127. 127
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: There are variations on the basic roll throughout eastern Europe.

  128. 128
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: I was driving yesterday and heard a clip of the detestable Lanny Davis talking about those hearings. Now, I cannot STAND Lanny Davis and don’t trust that weasel as far as I could drop-kick him, but if only a quarter of what he hinted at comes to pass, those hearings will be very entertaining indeed. We should declare it a Balloon Juice holiday and all take the day off to watch! Crookmas!

  129. 129
    Immanentize says:

    @MomSense: if you do, we can meet in the district which is about half way between us, I think.

  130. 130
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: Not possible. Joe Lieberman has no spirit or soul.

  131. 131
    Immanentize says:

    But the yeasty part is hard for me…. I make the dough parts too fat every time it seems. Any tips?

  132. 132
    Kay says:


    It’s key though. For one thing it puts paid to the lie that was promoted that Trump doesn’t worry about how he appears to the public.

    Donald Trump believed the revelations would harm his chances. They scrambled frantically to get AMI to pay off the witnesses. They cared A LOT if those women spoke out.

    Trump is in no way invulnerable and no one knows better where he’s vulnerable than him. Every single day of his miserable life he has to worry about being exposed for what he is, and he DOES worry. It’s consuming him and it’s only going to get worse.

  133. 133
    rikyrah says:


    We’re thinking of you…missing you…

  134. 134
    Immanentize says:

    @Kay: And right on your cue, TPM has a story up that Trump is telling friends he is worrying about impeachment.

    His “friends” we will add that spill everything to reporters.

  135. 135
    beth says:

    Re fruitcake: We’re making Jamaican Black Cake this year, for which several mason jars of dried fruits have been soaking in rum for months. That mixture is ambrosial! Can’t wait to try the cake, which I hear is a complete rebuke to wannabe ‘fruitcakes’ everywhere.

  136. 136
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    We need a tick tock of the panic in Trump Inc. The call from the National Enquirer. The mad scramble to transfer the payoff.

    We already know Trump wanted to pay cash (hysterical, BTW) – they would have had to deliver 150,000 in cash to that scumbag at the Enquirer. They would make Cohen deliver it, I’m sure.

  137. 137
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Yeup, ’tis the season – for another round of submissions to the “Desserts” section of the forthcoming Balloon-Juice Death-To-Diabetics! Cookbook… :^\

  138. 138
    Immanentize says:

    @Kay: I also live Trump’s latest defense: “I never told Cohen to break the law.”

    As if saying “Go forth and break the law” is a necessary element to any crime…. These guys are beyond desperate.

  139. 139
    Yarrow says:

    Fruitcake is popular with backpackers and others who do distance sports these days. I remember reading this article a year ago. You have to have a subscription but here’s the first part:

    Finally, a Use for That Leftover Holiday Fruitcake: Exercise Fuel
    The maligned dessert is finding fans among long-distance hikers, skiers and cyclists who are fed up with gorp

    Another Christmas has gone by and, once again, there are uneaten fruitcakes.

    That’s welcome news to Jack Haskel, a long-distance hiker who regularly carries slices of the maligned dessert in his backpack. “It is tastier and oh so much better than an energy bar,” says the 34-year-old trail information manager in Sacramento, Calif., who buys fruitcakes during the holidays to take on hikes.

  140. 140
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Will the mainstream Beltway press pick up that? Probably not!

    They haven’t picked up on Trump using the arrested Chinese CEO as a hostage, as part of his trade negotiations with China.

    Trump’s stance is he could release her, if China gave in to his demands.

  141. 141
    germy says:

    As a kid growing up on the west side of San Antonio, I never thought that I’d one day be making this announcement: I’m exploring a candidacy for President of the United States in 2020 to renew the promise of this country for all.— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) December 12, 2018

    It will be a crowded field.

  142. 142
    Kay says:


    Hah! I noticed that yesterday. You’re familiar with this, I’m sure, where defendants start to seize on individual words and phrases. I actually love the theories. “Did NOT consider that, that a hare is not a rabbit, thanks so much”

    Trump has had so much practice. 50 years of hiding what he is. It must be personally devastating to get caught.

    This is horrible, but sometimes with certain defendants I wonder why they bother, because like with Trump it is TRUE that a majority of people already know they’re liars or whatever. They’re defending a reputation they don’t have. That’s when you start to get an inkling of how delusional they are – “my good name” What good name? Are you fucking kidding me?

    I prefer the realists. I had a 16 year old tell a judge that he took change out of cars at the laundromat because he wanted to buy a minibike, and also the laundromat is a good place to do it because people are taking shit in and out of their cars so they don’t lock them. That’s “why”. I loved that he skipped the moral dimension completely. Ask him “why” and he answers.

  143. 143
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: You have to pull the dough between your hands. I start by putting the dough on a flour dusted sheet over our 6’x4′ DR table, and roll it out as best I can with a rolling pin (very important to get it even in all directions. Then with dusted hands I will put one under the dough, another on top and pull the dough very slowly towards myself (be careful you don’t tear the dough by pulling too much too fast) Then move a couple inches and pull the dough there and equal amount working your way all the way around the table, then repeat going around the table again, then again. My mother always said one has to get it so thin “you should be able to read a newspaper thru the dough”. I inevitably get a few tears that I remedy with trimmings from the edge rolled over them.

    Of course this all depends on getting the dough right, with the proper elasticity. This our dough:

    2 pkg yeast
    1/2 cup water (105-115 degrees)
    1 tsp sugar

    Let set till it foams (if it doesn’t foam you have bad yeast, I always buy it the day before I make one)

    9 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 cup sugar

    (I always start with 6 or 7 cups flour, than add the rest or more until I get the proper consistency)

    4 egg yolks
    3 cups milk
    1/2 cup butter
    above Yeast mix

    Add flour mix one cup at a time, when you have a nice ball turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in the rest of the flour until the dough is elastic.

    Kind of hard to explain when the dough is right except to say that when kneading it, it wants bounce back to it’s previous shape. When you get it right, it has a feel all it’s own and my hands “know” in a way my brain can not.

  144. 144
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @germy: I like him, but his resume is thin.

  145. 145
    Elizabelle says:

    @beth: OK Ms. Beth. Recipe (even photos as you make the cake!) if you please.

    Elizabelle the recipe scarfer

  146. 146
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I think Castro is running to be V.P.

  147. 147
    Immanentize says:

    @Kay: I know exactly what you are talking about. The denial once Caught is strong in normal people. With Trump it is exponentially higher.

    During part of my career, this was the difference between guys on death row who wanted to convince me they were INNOCENT! And the guys who said, “Look, I just want to live. Can you get my death sentence to a life sentence?”. The latter group we’re much easier clients with whom we generally had more success.

  148. 148
    Immanentize says:

    Thank you so much. I will pull out my recipe and check for differences later.

    But I did notice one thing. In my grandma’s version, once all mixed you let the dough rise, punch it down and then let it rise again before kneading. Do you do that?

  149. 149
    geg6 says:


    That’s the one I read about!

  150. 150
    The Moar You Know says:

    Trump is telling friends he is worrying about impeachment.

    @Immanentize: I call bullshit. He’s an idiot but he can count just as well as I can. He can’t possibly be convicted and he absolutely knows that.

    Just another attempt to rile up the base. I bet attendance at the rallies is falling off.

  151. 151
    geg6 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Yes, he was on MSNBC (can’t remember which show) last night throwing out tantalizing hints of what his client may testify to. I may have to record it.

  152. 152

    @zhena gogolia: Cultural appropriation is complicated, from my readings of Twitter accounts of second gen South Asian immigrants what irks them the most is when some aspect of their heritage for which they were belittled and bullied for when they were younger becomes mainstream, after some celebrity usually white adopts it.
    Some examples: Madonna wearing henna and bindi, was cool, but as a child of immigrants that got you bullied in school if you showed up with henna or a bindi
    Coconut oil has gone mainstream now but some kids remember being ridiculed for using it for their hair when they were growing up etc.
    Frankly, it doesn’t bother me much but I was not born in this country and my sensibilities may be different. If Madonna or some other celebrity wants to make an ass of themselves in public, who am I to stop them.
    ETA: If you use something that’s a part of your heritage you are mocked for it but the moment some celebrity does it, it suddenly becomes cool and of the moment and the said celebrity is considered open minded.

  153. 153
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: Sorry about that, forgot that part. After kneading, I let it rise for 1 hour, then punch down and roll/pull out. Once I have the filling (a german chocolate, milk, brown sugar, butter, honey,ground walnuts and whipped egg whites concoction) spread out, I roll the dough up (by pulling the sheet up from one side) and fold it into a well greased broiler pan and let it rise for another hour before baking at 300 degrees for 75 mins.

    ETA to test if it’s done, I thump the top of it. If it sounds hollow, it is done.

  154. 154
    Yarrow says:

    @The Moar You Know: He can be convicted when enough Republicans in the Senate realize that sticking with him is toxic to them. That day is coming.

  155. 155
    prostratedragon says:

    A small commercial if I may. A family favorite for decades now is Whitaker’s Rumfru Delight. Moist, rummy, and comes beautifully packaged. The Whitakers are friends. And I too had been a confirmed fruitcake hater.

  156. 156
    lollipopguild says:

    @rikyrah: Did anyone think to put up the Baudsign(TM)?

  157. 157
    Miss Bianca says:

    @MazeDancer: would you mind if I put this out to my network? And put someone in touch with you @ Pistcards? : )
    I would jump on this myself but I live in the wilderness with a Siberian Husky and a housemate not enamoured of cats.

  158. 158
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Has anybody else seen this DHS press release? Yes, it appears to be real.

  159. 159
    Immanentize says:


    I so want a slice NOW! OK, maybe three or seven slices

  160. 160
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: That may not be enough.

  161. 161
    gwangung says:

    There are a lot of cultural appropriation arguments out there between white people, with nary a word (or a lot of ignored words) from the non-white people involved.

  162. 162
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Gelfling 545: mmm, yum yum…a well-made fruitcake is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Sorry, haters.

  163. 163
    MattF says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You don’t expect press releases to be written in an ESL class. The lack of articles suggests a Slavic L1.

  164. 164
    Chyron HR says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    “Since the dawn of time, man has yearned to build wall high…”

  165. 165
    Aleta says:

    @MattF: Or it was a cut and paste draft, and the sentences that are missing articles were taken straight from a bullet point list. And no one bothered to proof before throwing it up. A deadline doesn’t mean ‘work harder’ or ‘pay workers more’ to these jokers, it means ‘we’re not responsible for bad product.’

  166. 166
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @MattF: I was going to say Chinese.

    Maybe written by an intern who’s not a native speaker?

  167. 167
  168. 168
    ruemara says:

    I’m Jamaican. We make a bomb fruitcake. You guys who hat fruitcake haven’t had a good one. Thus endeth my TED talk.

  169. 169
    Aleta says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Border security relies on a combination of (x,y,z) and partnerships with law enforcement at the state, local, tribal, and federal level.

    But not apparently enforcement of the laws at the state, local, tribal and federal level; they are just insisting on force at all levels.

    I read that by calling out a “H-land security threat,” they can disregard federal and state environmental and tribal laws in place for decades. (The S Court recently refused to hear a challenge to this brought by a butterfly preserve on the border.)

    I’d like to see a list of all the laws they believe they can disregard merely by announcing that asylum seekers are a threat.

  170. 170
    Aleta says:

    @ruemara: Long time ago I got a ‘fruitcake’ from some friends who implied they’d come up with a better fruitcake.

    It was astounding. Never forgot it, never stopped wanting it.

    Years later I read the recipe, pictures, description of Jamaican black cake. That was the cake.

  171. 171
    blackcatsrule says:

    @Raven: Not sure what you intend to use it for, but I could not believe the difference it made for my anxiety. Capsules seem to work better for me than the drops only because I can better control the dosage…which as others have pointed out is something you will have to experiment with. Like commentor Phyllis above, I use and highly recommend Bluebird Botanicals.

  172. 172
    PJ says:

    @Gin & Tonic: @MattF: @Chyron HR: It’s pretty strange. The lack of articles and familiarity with English usage of commas suggests a native Slavic speaker, while the lack of evidence in the body to support the assertion in the title and the concluding paragraph that “walls work”, suggests someone who failed high school English (or Russian).

  173. 173
    Elizabelle says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Walls Work

    DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly. We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall. Instead, under this President we are building a wall that is 30-feet high.


    How effective is this new border wall? On Sunday when a violent mob of 1,000 people stormed our Southern border, we found the newly constructed portions of the wall to be very effective. In the area of the breach, a group of people tore a hole in the old landing mat fence constructed decades ago and pushed across the border. U.S. Border Patrol agents who responded to the area ultimately dispersed the crowd, which had become assaultive, and apprehended several individuals. All of the individuals were either apprehended or retreated into Mexico. That evening, the fence was repaired. There were no breaches along the newly constructed border wall areas.

    became assaultive?

    Very odd language, although I’ve not been reading many government websites. Although — the ones I have read have been in standard English. This is very, very strange.

  174. 174

    @Patricia Kayden: Sounds similar to the rum and raisin cake that Goan Catholics make for Christmas.

  175. 175
    zhena gogolia says:


    Yes, I get that.

  176. 176
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Apparently they now also agree that literally can also mean, ah, not really literally.

  177. 177
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Elizabelle: I’d be happy to though some is a bit of an add this or that if you have some kind of thing the basics are easy enough.

  178. 178
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    No problem with it per se, as she is portraying a very particular subset of New York City Jewry, the Upper west side Jewish woman* pretty much spot on, within the context of the time the series is set.

    *Not to be confused with the Upper east side Jewish woman, a species with distinctively different habits and plumage.

  179. 179

    @zhena gogolia: I get it too. Personally, I treat it as a minor irritant not deserving of major outrage. I reserve that for the kinds of thing that the Orange One is doing.

  180. 180
    Mark C says:

    Fruitcake gets relentlessly regifted, year after year. Many people retch at the mear mention of fruitcake because what they’ve tasted was likely 2 decades old.

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