97 Years old Fruitcake

Pierre Girard got a gag gift that lives up to its name. It keeps on giving – and it occasionally makes people gag.


It’s hard as a rock, has a slight scent of spice and looks like Frankenstein, with knob-like mints protruding from its sides. But, hey, will any of us look any better than Pierre Girard’s fruitcake when we’re 97 years old?

“Most people won’t touch it,” said the Golden Valley resident with a chuckle. “Others say, ‘I wouldn’t have that in my house. I’m afraid of it.’ I think I’m the only one that really loves it.”

Ya think? Especially when even a young fruitcake, like many holiday traditions, evokes decidedly mixed feelings.

“My first reaction was ‘Eww, I don’t want to eat that one,'” said Sue Riley, a neighbor who first encountered the cake at Girard’s Christmas party last year. “It’s really ugly.”

The cake’s history, aside from its being baked a few months before the Titanic sank, is shrouded in mystery. Two of Girard’s friends, Audrey Staber and Dick Scheimo, found it on a St. Louis Park closet shelf while doing an estate-sale assessment in 1992. The elderly resident had died with no heirs, and Girard never learned her name before Staber and Scheimo subsequently passed away.

But the cake came in a box with cryptic inscriptions: “Xmas cake Baked in dec. 1911” on top, “Xmas Cake baked by my mother’s brother Alex died Dec. 27. Was operated on Xmas day” on the bottom.

Staber and Scheimo gave Girard the cake at a holiday gathering at T.K. Nick’s in Golden Valley. Hilarity ensued. But when Girard decided to keep the cake, his friends “were amazed,” he said. They shouldn’t have been: Girard said he always has had a well-known weakness for “old things and castoffs … and I’ve always had a reputation for keeping old food around.”

Since he loves a good yarn as much as he does antiques, Girard baked up one for this cake. “I got to thinking, there’s a story here. This is somebody’s life, and she valued this.”



2 Responses to “97 Years old Fruitcake”
  1. Barbara says:

    Just scrape off the mold and douse it in brandy. It still has many good years left in it!

  2. yurigoul says:

    I’d love to have an extreme close-ups of that thing. Could sure be a source for some serious grunge textures!

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