The Great Fruitcake Secret
I'm one of those people of the opinion that the best use of a fruitcake is as a doorstop. However, I come from a family of fruitcake lovers and have made hundreds of the wretched things and am therefore part of perpetrating the horror.
My Mom started baking them about early November so that they could age and be spiked with brandy, whisky, and/or rum a few times. For my utterly teetotaling parents, I found that behavior stranger than fruitcake itself, I mean after all what the heck is citron? Who wants to candy it, let alone eat it!
She loved it and her cakes were highly prized and requested as gifts from family members with the genetic error that allows fruitcake addiction. She also loved the pecan filled cakes from the legendary Colin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas that are sold all over the world. She and a friend, also deluded enough to consider fruitcake a food, would drive down to buy a cake or two and have some samples fresh from the bakery. They were expensive even then and considered a gourmet treat.
Many years later I was dating a perfectly nice Italian man who loved candied fruit in breads and cakes and who thought Colin Street made the ideal fruitcake. He began to give me the gigantic size as a Christmas gift every year and I never had the heart to tell him how I really feel about the stuff. It was not a problem because I asked my Mom if she would like to have it, and she eagerly agreed, so each year that fruitcake can got tucked in with her other gifts.
The year my Mom passed away was a kind of sad Christmas, and it was poignant when my fruitcake arrived and I had nowhere to send it. It turned out that most of my friends and my own children are not fruitcake fans and it took some doing to find a lady at my church who really did want the thing. The next Christmas, she had unfortunately died also and sensing a horrible fruitcake-fatality correlation, finally had to confess the fruitcake truth to my friend.
Fortunately, he took it well and best of all took that huge mass of unidentifiable former fruit and sadly squandered native pecans off my hands. He even gave me an nice replacement gift, a fine dessert cookbook. Eventually, I noticed his little jibe - when I came upon the fruitcake recipes, each one was carefully highlighted!
For me, nothing but the fruitcake truth from now on. I'll happily make you one, even if I doubt both your tastes buds and your sanity, but please, please, don't me expect me to eat one!