December 27, 2012

National Fruitcake Day

"The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other." - Johnny Carson

It's National Fruitcake Day!

Poor fruitcake. It's been the unfortunate butt of Christmas jokes for generations. It is in our family. In 1990 or 1991 one of my uncles bought a fruitcake as a gift for our annual post-holiday meal Yankee Swap. The rules were that whomever received it had to come up with a creative way to regift it at the following year's Yankee Swap (one year someone created a t-shirt with an image of a fruitcake, and that's how it was passed off that year... to me, by the way, because I thought the shirt was SO COOL). Twenty years later and as far as I know it's still in rotation. The box is nearly ruined, but the fruitcake itself? Still in perfect, glistening condition.

I'm not sure why the fruitcake has gotten the mockable reputation it has... it's not a doorstop or a paper weight. It's cake soaked in brandy! We're a country that loves our booze in any way, shape, or form - so why do we ridicule the fruitcake as much as we do? Especially considering fruitcakes themselves have been around for centuries - probably since the Middle Ages - and varied from region to region depending on what ingredients were local and seasonably available.

Today, instead of mocking this generations old traditional holiday food, I'm going to try a bite. And who knows? If it's absolutely delicious, I'll wrap it up and save it for my grandchildren to try in a few decades.  And if it's absolutely disgusting (and it was), I may just wrap it up and save it for my grandchildren anyway!

Happy National Fruitcake Day!