Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 12/22/07


Time to clear Fruitcake’s tasty name
By, Ezra Mann (Editor and Nogg Enthusiast)

In a time quite possibly long forgotten cavemen everywhere were getting a bit tired of eating raw meat and listening to their grandparents telling them how they had to walk on their hands and knees both ways up the hill in the snow in July. So one day Grandma Unga told Grandfather Bunga that she was going to make a heated snack with aged fruits and a few nuts off the neighbor’s tree. At first everyone was overjoyed with the change, after all salted mammoth gets old after a while, but then Aunt Ooog decided she did not like Unga’s cake. So Ooog told her friend Grog that Unga’s cake tasted like Uncle Slate’s five year old underwear and pretty soon some nasty rumors spread till fruitcake suddenly was no longer loved. At least that’s how I imagine it all got started.
I’ve honestly wondered over the years where this whole anti fruitcake movement started. Did Julius Caesar stub his toe on Cleopatra’s cake as she left it carelessly propped in the bed chamber? Was Napoleon truly doomed when he ate English fruity cooking at Waterloo? Did Hitler take his own life or did one of his underlings replace his favorite treat with candied cherries? Or perhaps it was a case of someone finding a badly or over-manufactured batch and then forcing everyone to believe that they are all the same.
Whatever the real cause of fruitcake phobia, it’s really not as bad as some people make it out to be. Heck, if you do a bit of research there are plenty of recipes where you can make a mighty tasty homemade batch with only what you want in it. (Like dried fruit instead of candied) Take for instance www.allrecipes.com, a site that presented me with 106 options (some similar copies of others, but several versions). If you wanted to be even more random you could take the cake recipe idea and try it with cookies, muffins or pancakes. Whatever you decide, fruitcake can be a tolerable experience if you don’t let preconceived notions rule the day.
If all else fails, you don’t have you eat the darn stuff. What you could do if you hate it so much is keep your negative ideals to your rigid self and let those of us who know the truth spread a little joy without you passing it around as if it were a late-night video tape of Paris Hilton. The last thing fruitcake needs is more hissy fit PR. Seriously, stop the preaching and enjoy the holiday season. Besides, we can always direct any loss of love toward the super store chains that feel we all have to buy the same dang list of gifts to feel accepted in an already silly society.
So there you have it, the first in my less than likely multiple attempts to redeem a food tarnished by time and nitpicking ninnys. Fruitcake isn’t all that evil, despite how someone else may have warned you in their own sad legend. I mean really, if Alton Brown of Good Eats fame can make it sound good then all negativities must be from the fault of those who no longer cook with love. Try some fruitcake this holiday for goodness sake and who knows maybe you just might find a new favorite food. Well, maybe not favorite, but if I can lead one more person away from baking blasphemy then my words have been successful.



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