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Scott's fruitcake alive and well

By guest editor Richard Caldwell

Posted August 22, 2017
world's oldest fruitcake found in antarctica
Worth a nibble: The world's oldest fruitcake yesterday. © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Richard Caldwell lifts the lid on the world's oldest living fruitcake, recently unearthed by Kiwis in Antarctica.

A 106-year-old fruitcake has been found inside of a remote cabin in Cape Adare, Antarctica.

The cabin itself is the oldest standing structure in Antarctica (should we ignore the vomitoria of Atlantis buried deep beneath the ice), built by a Norwegian team in 1899.

The fruitcake was located much more recently by researchers from the New Zealand wing of the Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT), with New Zealand being the oldest member nation of said AHT.

world's oldest fruitcake in original packaging
Better than the box: The cake fared better than its packaging. © Antarctic Heritage Trust

The New Zealanders believe that the fruitcake can be traced back specifically to the British Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-1913, in which all five brave explorers (led by Robert Falcon Scott, aka Scott of the Antarctic) proved sadly more perishable than the fruitcake they left behind.

The primordial fruitcake was wrapped in paper and tucked away in a tin and was, as testament to the keenness of early fruitcake technology, actually in finer condition than said packaging.

Even more intriguing, the conservators insist that "the cake looked and smelled edible."

None dared the obvious, unfortunately, with the fruitcake set to be returned after study to the soon-to-be-restored cabin in Cape Adare, along with an assortment of other artefacts discovered on site, to serve as a living monument of sorts.

Or as a special nest-egg for whenever the world's food supply finally runs short.

The AHT could easily save themselves many a grant-writing effort with a very public auction, in which the bidding hopeful with the most funds pledged could then enjoy the delectable piece of history on live, pay-per-view television.

For slightly more information, the New Zealand conservators have issued their own press release reporting on the matter, which can be read here.

Cheers, Richard. Hats off to Scott, his heroic team, all at the AHT and, of course, Huntley & Palmers, the firm which apparently made the fruitcake in the first place. But how do you make a fruitcake? Well, admittedly, we've run this vid before but it bears repeating because its message is eternal. Watch and learn, folks. Watch and learn.

See also Rock legend to croc legend, posted 21/8/17, and, for more great cookery tips like the ones above, How to make a fruitcake, posted 15/12/15.

Richard Caldwell
used to write for the now sadly defunct New Comics Day. Fortunately, his writings still abound elsewhere on the interweb, such as on his flippin' ace blog that you are strongly advised to check out here.

Engage with the Rake & Herald on FaceBook here and Twitter here. Better still, buy a T-shirt here.

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