In Praise of Fruitcake


The holidays are upon us, and for me that means one thing:  Time for fruitcake!

Hey, you can stop laughing now.

Honestly, I don’t understand why everyone makes fun of fruitcake.  If we gain ten pounds in November and December and have to make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet, we blame it on the fruitcake.  I hear jokes about using a fruitcake as a doorstop instead of a brick.  And that a fruitcake is the worst possible Christmas gift anyone can receive, suitable only for regifting to that uncle who no one really likes anyway.

Never mind.  We will have none of that mockery at our house.

Let me come right out and say it:  I love fruitcake.

I mean, come on!  What’s not to love?  Spice cake full of cinnamon and nutmeg, studded with raisins, walnuts and candied pineapple.  Maybe even chocolate chips.  And then there’s the best part of all:  The red and green candied cherries.

With all the red and green decorations in every store and on every Main Street, you must agree that nothing says “holiday time” more than those shiny red and green cherries atop the fruitcake.  I like to pick them out of the fruitcake with my fingers and enjoy them one scrumptious nibble at a time.

For a fruitcake lover, I truly lucked out.  My mother-in-law makes the best fruitcake I have ever tasted anywhere.  It tastes nothing like the plastic-wrapped version stuffed into a box or a gaudy red tin and found in every supermarket and discount store.  Cut me a thick slick on a plate next to a hot cup of tea and you will bring a huge smile to my face.

Despite the disparagement suffered by the poor, maligned fruitcake every year, notice that the giving and eating of fruitcake is a tradition that has not abated over the years.  If it were as awful as everyone likes to claim, I am sure it would have faded away long ago.

Oh, and about that gaining weight thing, don’t blame it on the fruitcake.  I realize that every holiday has its scapegoat:  Candy at Halloween, pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, chocolate at Easter and, um, matzo at Passover.  But when it comes to December, we know what the real culprit is.

Those dastardly sugar cookies.

You know, the ones cut out in the shape of stars and snowmen and Christmas trees.

Also, the egg nog.  Yeah, and the fudge and the mince pie and the pralines and the red and green wrapped Hershey’s Kisses.

You’re going to gain a few pounds no matter what you do.  So don’t sweat it if you can’t resist a slice or three of fruitcake.  You can always diet in January.

In our house, I’m happy to say that we start the season off early.  I can hardly wait until next week when Pastor Mom pulls out the walnuts and the candied cherries and starts baking.  She’s promised me a fruitcake to take to my parents for Thanksgiving, but I think she’d better make an extra.  Because you know it’s not going to last until Turkey Day.

Actually, I always ask for several extra fruitcakes, so I can freeze them to enjoy all year.  Believe me, it’s a real treat to defrost a yummy fruitcake in June or July.  Why should fruitcake be just for Christmas?

But if you still don’t like fruitcake, that’s perfectly okay.  More for me!

NaBloPoMo November 2013

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