Ice boxes were what people used before refrigerators became more widely available and affordable. And, you may have seen an ice box without knowing it. On The Honeymooners, the Kramden's didn't have a refrigerator; they had an ice box.
One of my grandmothers -- my father's mother -- always called her refrigerator "the ice box." When I was a lot younger, I just figured it was because the top part (the freezer) had the ice. Later, I came to understand that it was a hold-over term from when she had an ice box. And that's true of many southern families.
Ice Box Fruitcake is similar to fruitcake. It won't keep as long as regular fruitcake, though. You must refrigerate it -- or, as they use to say years ago, "put it in the ice box."
Here's the recipe:
- One box (approx. 12 oz.) of vanilla wafers
- One pound of candied cherries (red and/or green)
- One can (approx. 14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
- One cup raisins
- One cup coconut
- One cup pecans
- Finely crush vanilla wafers. A food processor works great!
- In a large bowl, add the vanilla wafers, sweetened condensed milk.
- Hand mix until wafers are moistened.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Mix well by hand.
- Press mixture into a buttered tube pan.
- Refrigerate overnight, until firm.