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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

FRUITCAKE - a Cranky re-run


Bullying is on everyone’s minds these days.  I read newspaper articles about bullying on a daily basis.  One victim of bullying has not been talked about.  A victim I loved.  An American Holiday tradition is gone as a result of relentless bullying. 

The Christmas Fruitcake is no more.

I loved the Christmas fruitcake.  This was a tradition, baked yearly in-mass by elderly grandmas, aunts, cousins or neighbors.  Women who could not afford gifts to their many acquaintances could pull out a generations handed down recipe and bake bricks of fruity rum infused deserts to be given as presents.

It is true that sometimes you received multiple fruitcakes over the Holidays.  It is also true that the fruitcake had a long, almost forever, shelf life.  The result was some fruitcakes went un-eaten, some were re-gifted. 

There are legends (myths) of the same fruitcake being re-gifted over multiple Christmas Holidays.  It became a joke that the re-gifting of the fruitcake was a Holiday tradition.  Not true, oh it happened, but the re-gifted treat generally ended up with a fruitcake lover.

Legends such as these are fodder for late night comedians and it became a Holiday tradition for these low life bullies to make the traditional Christmas fruitcake joke.  The Tonight Show’s Johnny Carson was particularly brutal in his treatment of fruitcake.   

I loved fruitcake.  My family loved fruitcake, and yet we sat quietly, even laughed uncomfortably when these fruitcake jokes were told.

I should have spoken up.  I should have stood and yelled “Stop! I love fruitcake, and there are many others just like me!”  I did not.  Bullied by the jokes and the head nodding giggling responses of the masses to these jokes, I remained silent.  I allowed the fruitcake to be bullied.

The last ten years there have been no Holiday fruitcakes in my home.  This year there will also be none.  The grandmas, aunts, cousins and neighbors that used to bake and hand them out have all passed-on.  Their recipes have been filed away and forgotten.  Their protégés will not bake and hand them out.  They have been shamed and mocked by the fruitcake bullies; they will be shamed and mocked no more.

Few people will ever again know the joy of receiving and enjoying this Holiday desert treat.  History will tell of the much maligned once traditional Holiday fruitcake which disappeared from the American landscape due to scorn and indifference.

The truth is that a treat baked with love and enjoyed by millions is gone.  Gone as the result of relentless jokes and bullying which was silently allowed by a gutless audience of people such as me.  We quietly allowed a Holiday tradition to be maligned.  We sat back and allowed the fruitcake to be bullied until the fruitcake is no more!

When will we learn?  


  1. As you know Cranky - traditional Christmas Fruitcake is being served in the Bradt household this year. I even made my own marzipan because it is too expensive to buy here, and it is now iced and in it's box waiting to be moved to our new home.

    I am happy to pass on my recipe to Mrs Cranky is she would like it. It is my mothers recipe, but sadly not my grandmothers. My grandmothers recipe was apparently very dry and not very palatable. Mine is drunk on brandy, but it can be force fed whisky,rum or sherry instead and it will get just as tipsy.

    I could always mail you some of ours once I cut into it on Christmas Day.

    Lou :-)

  2. Well. . .

    The simple fact that I can google 'Hundred Year Fruitcake', and get multiple hits, tells me all I care to know, frankly. . .


  3. I LOVE fruitcake, but, then again, I have many strange traits...

  4. I have never actually even seen a fruitcake. maybe I have been making them all along and I didn't realize it. I put all kinds of fruits in whatever I bake, my kids are happy with those 'healthy" desserts, but a lot of their friends just say, no thank you......

  5. I enjoy fruitcake, even after watching a TV program called "Life After People" which claimed a fruit cake can last five hundred years after humans have been wiped out.

  6. Perhpas you need a survey to see who knows life's finest foods. Put me down as a fruit cake-a-holic.

  7. It is a sad fact. I once watched a fruitcake being tossed around to see if it would bust or crumble. I am ashamed to say I did not stop up and speak out fothe poor dear. I sat quietly in my corner with an awkward smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Poor poor fruitcake.. I am ashamed.

  8. I love fruitcake and I am not ashamed to admit it.

    I wrote an article much as this one you've written - maybe a tad less saddened, since it was a few years earlier - and, as a result, I have received gifts of fruitcake every year since. Maybe you'll get lucky, too? I hope so!

    Here was mine...

  9. My mom used to make great fruitcake. It looked awesome, but I never liked it. Long live fruitcake!

  10. I haven't thought about it in a few years, but you're right. Where are the traditional Christmas fruit cakes? I could enjoy them in moderation if I carefully picked through it. What were those green, hard pieces? I always culled those.


  11. Anyone know what the green hard things are? I think they are some kind of dyed candied fruit. I always ate them and they were good.

    Scott threw them disrespectful to the fruitcake.

  12. Yeah, yeah, yeah...along with the demise of hostess twinkies. Let me get out my violin.

  13. The green things (which I like, so if you pick them out, put them in a baggie and send them my way and... no, on second thought, that would look like a bag full of snot) are called citron. It is the candied peel of a citrus fruit.

  14. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! And yet I cannot even look at that photo you posted. Hahahaha!