Gadling Take FIVE: Week of Dec. 16-Dec. 26

Minutes after I wrote last week’s Gadling Take FIVE, giving a plug to Gadling’s newest blogger, Tom Johansmeyer, Kraig joined our mix of people who are wild about travel. Kraig Becker has been getting his feet wet this past week and is now not the newest blogger on the Gadling block.

Alison Brick joins us today. For any of you wondering if family travel influences children to travel, it did Alison. She has memories of searching out AAA hotel vacancies with her folks. If that doesn’t scare a person off from hitting the open road, nothing will.

Here are posts that caught my attention. They range from the serious to the whimsical.

  • Scott posted on a new rule that requires permanent U.S. residents who are green card holders to get fingerprinted upon entering the U.S. through an immigration check-point brought up an interesting question. Why?
  • If you’re heading to New York City, be prepared to pay more for a subway ride. The fare may go up. Jeffrey’s post tells just how much.
  • Aaron, who sniffs out controversy, and he’s such a nice guy, wrote a post on Burger King’s new ad campaign which has been called by some to be culturally insensitive. I’m with Aaron on this one.
  • Jeremy gives a thumbs up to the 2008 edition of The Best American Travel Writing.
  • If you’ve ever wondered where fruitcake comes from, check out Brenda’s post. She knows the scoop. Personally, I like fruitcake–all kinds.

If you’re traveling and bored, here are 4 pen and pencil games you can play. I’ve played them all.

Fruitcake: Where does it come from?

While those chestnuts roast on your open fire, it might be time to open Grandma’s fruitcake that you forgot to eat last year. Maybe it’s on your closet shelf, just waiting to be devoured. You don’t have to worry about it going bad, either. It’s probably even tastier now that you’ve waited year. As you unwrap it and prepare it for your plate, it might be a good idea to understand just where the famous Christmas fruitcake comes from, and just how it landed in your hands this Christmas Day…

This famous Christmas cake is probably made from a combination of chopped and candied fruit, nuts, and spices, and likely soaked in brandy or rum. Fruitcake actually originated in very much the same form we see today way back to ancient Rome (so you could be holding a real historical artifact)!
Hundreds of years ago, Europeans would make these cakes using pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins, and some fruitcakes were traditionally made and saved for the annual harvest the following year.

Germans called their special fruitcake “Dresdner Stollen,” which looks like a bread loaf. It is served with icing at Christmastime. Italians call theirs “panforte.” Theirs was made famous in Siena over 500 years ago, and is baked in a shallow pan. In the UK, they like their fruitcake moist and serve it with marzipan and a thick layer of icing. Finally, we Americans like our fruitcake with lots of colorful fruits and nuts.

Now it’s time to unwrap that final Christmas present and satisfy that sweet tooth. Enjoy your Christmas and that candied fruitcake from your closet!

[information on fruitcake compiled from Wikipedia]