Cookie Thursday 7/21/22- fruit cake bites

The July theme of If You Want Women to the in the 18th Century so Badly… continues.

The bake of the week is fruit cake. I will be cutting the cake into small bites to increase the yield. As always one batch serves the entire OR.

Fruitcake was actually developed in ancient Rome as a way to get dense calories and nutrition into soldiers who were at war. The first fruitcakes were made up of a blend of mashed barley, pomegranate seeds, raisins, pine nuts, and honeyed wine. This dessert, called Satura, was very shelf stable and able to be carried into battle and sustain the soldiers.

(Aside: life in the OR is a battle and the healthcare workers are soldiers in that battle. I’ve used that idea as a metaphor before and it continues. No idea how this idea keeps threading through the posts)

Women also struggled during ancient Rome for rights. You see the connection. Or do i have to draw you a picture?

Fruitcake as we know it evolved and was brought to America by the colonists before the Revolution. The recipe used today has things that an 18th century kitchen would have: eggs, sour milk or buttermilk, flour, and sugar. Fun fact, sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, was not discovered until the late 18th century, and use of it as a leavening agent was not until around then. Bakers sometimes used ash from trees as a leavening agent. Ash is basic and when combined with the acidic sour milk produces carbon dioxide gas which is a leavener and lifts up the dough (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Dried fruit is added to the batter and the dough is baked, yielding fruitcake. Of course, sodium bicarb is sometimes taken as a treatment for sour stomach, or indigestion. Indigestions may be caused by too much gastric juices, or acid. The sodium bicarb neutralizes the overproduction of stomach acid.

Neat little circle.

As always, OR nurses have to be able to think quickly and see solutions to obstacles and problems in the cases. The recipe for fruitcake didn’t spell out specific dried fruits to use and I used what I had in the baking pantry. This fruitcake is made with dried raspberries, dried blueberries, and dried cranberries.

As Cookie Thursday is a Thing is about experimentation let’s see how this goes. Of course, what is considered traditional fruitcake is baked in November and “fed” brandy every week until Christmas. I am sure I will be disappointing some of my coworkers by denying them that.

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