No Fruitcakes In The USSR

by Masha Falkov
(Sarasota, FL)

Fruitcakes are a mystery to me. My friends are bewildered by the fact that I have never even tasted one, let alone understand the customs of regifting the cake.

Born in the USSR, and raised by Russian parents, the fruitcake meme managed to miss me altogether. In fact, though most of my friends growing up were American or other nationalities, I still managed to never even see one. I just kept hearing rogue references to the pastry from comics and literature. I began to think that the fruitcake was a kind of real life version of dwarf bread from Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series. When you have dwarf bread, you never starve, because when you look at it, all of a sudden you find many other things in your vicinity that look far more appetizing.

A few weeks ago, at the age of 25, I finally saw a fruitcake for the first time in my life in Wal-Mart. It appeared to be a spongy mass with colored specks of jelly inside it, packaged in a method suggesting preparation for a nuclear war. Whatever a fruitcake was originally supposed to be, this must have been a gross vulgarization thereof. Needless to say, I did not buy it, and my life continues to be fruitcake-free.

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