All I don’t want for Christmas is you, Fruitcake.

Toronto, ON, Canada / SayRadio
fruitcake

 

Fruitcake is the elephant in the room. Every time the holidays come around, our nutty, dried fruit friend appears on our countertops and dinner tables once again, yet we don’t know why. Sure, a nice enough co-worker might’ve gifted you our crumbling collage of candied fruits, or maybe Aunt “Josie” wanted you to try her new recipe. Heck, some might even partake in creating their own abomination to pass the pain onto future generations. I don’t like fruitcake because its got nuts in it, weird fruits, and most importantly, lies to itself. It tries to be healthy, but it’s a cake. I want to feel like a mess when I eat cake, that’s why it’s special. It’s only polite to be thankful for everything you have and receive from others, but we must ask the question: “Does anyone here enjoy this?” 

Anyone who enjoys fruitcake will probably loathe this article, that’s for sure, however you won’t be surprised by the points I have stated due to the American cultural tradition of hating fruitcake. Specifically in the United States, the fruitcake has been a ridiculed dessert. The origin of being cool to hate fruitcake has been attributed to the Tonight with Johnny Carson. The catalyst: “there is only one fruitcake in the world, passed from family to family”. After Carson’s death, the tradition continued with “The Fruitcake Lady”, Marie Rudisill, who made appearances on the show and offered her “fruitcake” opinions. However, Among those ranks were TV shows like Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show who mocked its existence years before The Tonight Show debuted and appears to have first become a vilified confection in the early 20th century, as evidenced by Warner Brothers cartoons. In addition, Since 1995, Manitou Springs, Colorado, has hosted the Great Fruitcake Toss on the first Saturday of every January. “We encourage the use of recycled fruitcakes,” says Leslie Lewis of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce. The all-time Great Fruitcake Toss record is 1,420 feet, set in January 2007 by a group of eight Boeing engineers who built the “Omega 380,” a mock artillery piece fuelled by compressed air pumped by an exercise bike.

Oddly enough, American culture is the only one to show bitter feelings to the pastry. In fact, the fruitcake has a long and cherished history among different cultures. The earliest recipe from Ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. With the advent of the middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added. In most (or once) commonwealth countries, fruitcake is called Christmas cake and is topped with sugary icing. Some other countries that preserve its importance are Bulgaria, India, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Romania.

None of this is needed, though, because fruitcake strolls through history like nothing when it contains alcohol. Fruitcake could remain edible for many years if wrapped in alcohol-soaked linen before storing to lengthen its shell life. For example, the Ford Family from Tecumseh, Michigan keeps a fruitcake baked in 1878 in an heirloom, and in 2003 was tasted by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Sure, alcohol does help preserve it, but by virtue bacteria and mold just don’t want to be in the vicinity of fruitcake. I have a crazy idea, I think at the end of an Atomic bomb going off the only thing left would be cockroaches and fruitcake.

While admittedly, I might have been harsh on our fruity friend, I think he still deserves a place on our tables just for that chance of bringing a smile on someone’s face this holiday season. Just keep away from me. I might think you’re the wet sock of cakes, but I will never let you out to dry

 

 

 

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