“In one of the most hostile regions known to humankind, conservationists unearthed an ice-covered fruitcake they believe once belonged to the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust said this past week.” — The New York Times, Aug. 13, 2017

It was frozen, of course. For a bit more
than a century, and the conservators decided
it smelled “almost” edible. Opinions vary,
though, and some believe that even the best
fruitcake is not quite edible. Good for the Antarctic,
where you need five thousand calories a day
and may not worry so much about taste.
In temperate zones, finished fruitcakes don’t lie
so still so long. They circulate,
one family to the next, one Christmas
to the next, movable heirlooms, some as old
as Captain Scott’s.
The best fruitcakes sit
for months, watching TV and digesting
heavy meals of citron, pecans, cherries, rum,
and brandy. Bourbon will do. Fruitcakes don’t
get drunk. They get eaten. Slice by thin slice,
with strong coffee. As with so much in life,
good fruitcake is made at home, by family,
and best enjoyed without electricity,
by firelight, while telling stories of adventure,
daring, activity, stories, perhaps,
of Robert Falcon Scott and his lost fruitcake.