Confessions of a fruitcake lover
by Carol Dunn
As I get older, I appreciate more and more the finer things in life, and one of those is fruitcake. Now, you can say whatever mean thing you want to about fruitcake, and most people in Huerfano County and the rest of the world have. But I looked it up online and discovered, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database, fruitcake has no saturated fat and no cholesterol. The calories in a slice of fruitcake? Fifteen percent less than a Pepsi. Fruitcake is loaded with fruit – granted it is weird, unnaturally colored fruit – and everyone knows fruit is good for you (even THIS fruit). Fruitcake has protein and dietary fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, niacin, folate, and phosphorus. Actually, the more I look at that list, it seems like something you would find in a welder’s tool box.
Anyway, it’s the weirdness of the fruitcake that attracts its fans and repels its detractors. And sure, most people SAY they hate fruitcake in public. But do you really know for sure? Behind closed kitchen doors, it could be a different story. We fruitcake lovers have endured the secret shame of loving the much maligned fruitcake for far too long. It’s time we take a stand and admit, “Yes, I have at times hidden a fruitcake at the back of the refrigerator and sneaked pieces when no one was looking.” Indeed, most of us have endured the questioning look on our spouse’s face after kissing us when she/he says, “Is that green cherries on your breath?”
Although Corsicana, Texas bills itself as Fruitcake Capital of the World, Claxton, Georgia “takes the cake.” Two rival bakeries there (owned by relatives who do not speak to each other) turn out millions of pounds of the holiday treat each year. Maybe you didn’t know this, but we have our own claim to fruitcake fame right here is Colorado. Yes, besides Boulder. The first Saturday in January is the Annual Fruitcake Toss in Manitou Springs. There are prizes for the most beautiful and most creative fruitcakes, but it pains us to know that there are also prizes for the ugliest and the fruitcake tossed the farthest from a catapult.
I’m not sure where the tradition came from to give away fruitcakes. It takes like 50 hours and $25 worth of dyed and pickled fruit and nuts to make a fruitcake, so if I went through the ordeal of making one, the LAST thing I would do is give it away.
It’s the younger generation that suffers from fruitcake bashing. At my urging, my daughter took a bite of fruitcake. After she was finished gagging and spitting into the garbage disposal, I realized that fruitcakes are quickly becoming a thing of the past, novelties for the older generation, just like Black Jack gum and Orange Nehi soda.