It is not yet winter, as that won't happen for weeks, but December marks the beginning of the pre-Christmas attack.
Oh, technically Jul (Yule) has not begun either.
So today, to get us all in the Xmas mood, I'd like to talk about the humble, much maligned fruitcake.
|Naughty cake, so naughty, half-naked like that...|
Yep, that's it, right there.
Public Christmas Enemy #1.
I like fruitcake. My wife hates fruitcake. It is popular to hate fruitcake and yet it is also popular to give and receive the fruitcake. So what gives?
My mother liked fruitcake and I like fruitcake. It's been around in one form or another for centuries. So why, if it is so hated, does it endure? Were all the fruitcakes in the world made at the same time and the hygroscopic nature of the confection has made them unspoilable such that the same fruitcakes are seen on the shelf every year only to be returned, like so many copies of Dianetics to Scientology HQ, to their point of storage to be put back on the shelves again come November in the good old US of A? Had the New Orleans levees been made of such cake would Katrina have found herself bitch slapped back into the Gulf of Mexico to sulk?
We can see in the choice of materials for the fruitcake that it is a winter food. Dried or candied fruit, nuts, alcohol, dense cake. This is a confection made not with the fresh fruits of the summer and early fall, but the preserved goods that are meant to carry one through the dark part of the year. It is a filling, hearty cake as well, and the alcohol acts as both preservative and punch. It is akin to the plum duff, Christmas pudding, and the German stollen. This cake means business.
Many have probably never tried fruitcake. It looks unappealing when you see it in a store cut into rectangular solids, bits of candied fruit sliced open like a produce autopsy. The entire thing looks like it will go into your colon and have a sit in to fight for the rights of cakes everywhere. Try it. You might like it. Fruitcakes, even the grocery store brick-o-cake, have a rich flavor that is sweet, nutty, and a little odd, but pleasant.
In these enlightened times perhaps we feel we don't need the humble fruitcake anymore. We have greenhouses and genetically altered fruit. We have refrigeration to store our perishables. We don't want for things like apples, which we can have year round or oranges. We don't know the simple joy of getting a fruity treat out of season because our jaded asses are accustomed to it. Take away our ability to get fruit all year round and we'd make a Federal case of it, for truly it is in the Constitution that we have a Separation-of-Church-and-State-god given right to fresh fruit year round. So it is no wonder we don't respect the fruitcake.
If you got a fruitcake for a gift you'd think, "Well it's the thought that counts, right?". Then you'd think that the thought was obviously not a nice one and you might say, "Screw that. I'm glad I didn't get them a present. Yeah, bite my crank grandma!"
Which is appalling and you should be ashamed of yourself.
And now for a guest celebrity opinion: What do you think, Krampus?
So until next time, keep your menorah lit.