I finished reading Wayne Flynt’s new Afternoons with Harper Lee (here signed at Alabama Booksmith, here at Bookshop, here at Amazon) about a week ago; in it, she mentions Truman Capote, whom she played with as a child (he lived with his Faulk family in Monroeville in a house by the Lee home). The Faulk home is no longer, and on the site now, a dairy bar. A historic marker stands:
and reads in part: Capote himself lived in this home between 1927 and c. 1933, and for several years spent his summer vacations here. Two of the Faulk sisters operated a highly successful millinery shop located on the town square. The third sister, affectionately known as “Sook,” was the inspiration for characters in the Glass Harp, The Thanksgiving Visitor, and A Christmas Memory.
Nelle Lee mentions to the Flynts one day that Sook was her favorite of the Faulks, and made her out to be a poorly educated but faithful Baptist except when she would sample the moonshine whiskey used in her fruitcakes — and that those fruitcakes truly deserved all the praise heaped upon them.
The accents here are just not right, but I’ve clipped the scene in ACM where Sook brings her ingredient shopping list:
These cooler temps do indicate that it’s fruitcake time, because a proper fruitcake requires weeks of maturing…letting the alcohol mellow out some.
I make quickie fruitcakes — cupcakes! — the night before they’re enjoyed, and the alcohol has not mellowed out. It’s THERE. (Hi, if you’re one of those people who’s going for wine-level descriptors of the complex flavors that come with cakes that have set for weeks, that’s great too, but just get started early). And here’s the most important, important, important thing about fruitcakes no matter what you’re going for: only put in what tastes good that you’d eat on your own otherwise. Citron peel? No thanks. Make these like a crabcake: only enough filler to hold things together. A good fruitcake has all the yummy bits — pineapple, cherries, golden raisins all generously bathed in whiskey plus pecans, even chocolate chips if you like. It’s so customizable. Here’s my recipe.