I have a confession: I love fruitcake. I love green cherries, red cherries, neon red bits and yellow bits. Nuts, no nuts, raisins, craisins, rum, brandy, whatever. I love it all. I didn’t always feel that way because it was cool to hate it when I was a teenager. Then one day, all the Christmas goodies were gone except the fruitcake and so I dared to try a nibble and I was hooked, wondering where it had been all of my life (everywhere, apparently). I don’t eat it every year because I forget about it – it’s a much bigger thing and somewhat more loved and less reviled in Canada where I grew up than it is here where it’s more an afterthought or the butt of jokes.
When scrolling through Facebook, I saw that Wednesday was National Fruitcake Day and I remembered the loaf that had been gifted to me a month ago, waiting for this very day to be unveiled. First I cut through the red and white twine, folded the parchment paper away and then freed the brick from its rum-soaked cheesecloth. The parallel to the unwrapping of a mummy was not lost on me, but I knew that I was in for a treat. And yes, even though this particular fruitcake didn’t give in so easily, we successfully cut it open with a humble butter knife only to have my daughter ask with some incredulity, “Why do people enjoy fruitcake??” With my cup of tea in hand, I savored one morsel, then 2, then 3 and before I knew it, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside. That’s why *I* enjoy fruitcake. Every year I swear that I am going to make my own next year, but a good fruitcake – and if I am going to go through the trouble of making one, it had better be good – requires some pre-planning and prep and that is more than I can handle at this time of year so I leave it to the experts. We’ve had it sent to us all the way from Texas, sometimes my mom brings me some from the Philippines made at her cousin’s bakery – it says a lot about the preservation powers of alcohol. And yes, sometimes I even get the lowly grocery store loaf which I don’t even know if it contains any hint of alcohol in it or if it’s high fructose corn syrup and flavoring – it’s still all good, though not the same as what I might find in a grocery store in the homeland.
The article I read on Facebook gave instructions on how to make your fruitcake more palatable by dipping slices in dark chocolate. Fair enough, but I am a purist at heart so just give me a sweet nugget of boozy candied bits, barely held together with flour and fat and I am a happy girl.
ETA: January 3 is National Fruitcake Toss Day. FYI.