Fruitcakes Doesn't Count

by Sue

Mama and Daddy were both raised Southern Baptist and that means no alcohol. Neither cared for the taste of alcohol and we just didn't have it around growing up except for a couple of weird exceptions. Mama heard about using wine in stews in fancy French cooking and would sometimes add a "fine wine" to hers, Mogen David sweet concord wine, that is!

One really big exception was fruitcake season, when there was alcohol in the house to add to those rows of fruitcakes aging in the refrigerator over a period of weeks. Most of the time it was whiskey, usually something called "Old Crow" which we knew because we kids studied the labels with curiosity since we were so unfamiliar with liquor. I remember wanting the empty bottle because I liked the label and being told it would "not look right" to have a whiskey bottle.

A few times it was some kind of brandy used instead of or with the whiskey, but the mystery was where the stuff came from. I can't imagine either of my parents going in a liquor store, but that Mogen David had to come from somewhere too, so they must have. It's funny to think of them sneaking off to buy booze. I thinks sometimes they got a bottle of something for Christmas from someone who was clueless about Baptists.

It was pretty strange to see my teetotaling parents loading those fruitcakes with so much booze that they pretty nearly dripped. When people had a slice, they would get pretty happy and boisterous, too, with just a cup of coffee. I could see the wine in cooking, since most of the alcohol cooks off, but I never did understand why a slice of fruitcake with about a jigger of whiskey in it didn't count as using alcohol.

Years later, a lady, also a Southern Baptist, brought a rum cake to my place of business as a gift to the staff. It, too, was literally dripping with rum, but delicious. After one slice, you could definitely feel a buzz. I'm no expert of all of Baptist doctrine, but there does seem to be some kind of cake exemption from the no alcohol rule. Maybe it's OK as long as you don't drink it and just fork it up.

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