Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's fruitcake weather!

Here's a little quiz for you:

1) Do you love the Truman Capote story: "A Christmas Memory" and read it every year, crying at the ending each time?

2) Do you like hard liquor?

3) Do you enjoy tangy desserts made of dried fruits like "mincemeat pie" (the kind without the meat?)

4) Are you in favor of lots of actual butter and actual sugar in your desserts (as opposed to margarine and some fake sugar substitute?)

5) Do you like an opportunity to overindulge and be a hedonist at times?

6) Do you have a stubborn perverse desire to learn traditional skills that most people would find old fashioned, pointless and too much work (such as knitting your own socks or growing your own food)?

7) Are you brave enough to try things that others make fun of?

8) Do you think holiday parties need plentiful booze in many formats?

If you answered and enthusiastic "Yes!" to 2 or more of these questions, you might be a candidate for my new campaign to inspire a love of FRUITCAKE in an apathetic world!

Yes, you too might, in fact, grow to love fruitcake, bake it each year and foist it upon unsuspecting relatives and neighbors.

At least, I'm going to try.

As a kid, all family gatherings involved booze and plenty of it. Sure, we had many family members who were alcoholics, but that was just part of our charm, as far as I was concerned.

I remember fondly how my maternal grandfather always smelled of Dewer's Scotch, and he always had a glint in his eye and a tinkle of ice in his glass. I remember how my paternal grandmother always smelled of Tanqueray and cigarette smoke. They'd always give me sips. I remember how my favorite Uncle liked to drink his beer in a glass. I would sneak behind the back of his chair and drink the amount left in the bottle after he poured it, and soon he would need another. I'd do the same to that one and after a short time I'd be pleasantly high. I loved the strong rum balls my grandmother brought to Christmas and I associated that taste with a good feeling of mild relaxation and giggling. The adults thought it was cute if we kids got a little buzz on, why not?

So the taste of liquor never bothered me. I grew up with it. And it seemed to me that when my family drank at least they weren't so nasty and angry and stressed out and mean as they were sober.

One year my mom made homemade fruitcake. Now, since she was a nurse, afraid of germs and constantly making us wash our hands with Dial antibacterial soap, I think she might have had some fears about the fact that real fruitcake sits wrapped in cheesecloth in the basement for months. Sure there is lots of rum and brandy and sugar to keep it from spoiling, but perhaps a little more alcohol would kill off more germs? Hell, let's just douse the thing with more booze every time we go down into the basement, just to be on the safe side, eh? Don't want to be accused of poisoning anyone!

So the fruitcake was brought up and tasted, and oh, the relatives found it tasty. Strong, but tasty, and tipsy!

And I got to taste it, and I LOVED it. Because it was sweet and spicy and decadent and best of all, boozy. And I've been dreaming of it ever since. But each year, around Christmas time, when I long for it, I remember that you have to make it in advance. It needs time to cure.

So for any of you who've heard many fruitcake jokes over the years but have never tried real fruitcake, let me tell you a little secret: it's all about the booze. I don't care what anyone says, who doesn't love food soaked in rum, brandy, butter and sugar? What's not to love? :-)

Seriously: don't knock it till you've tried it.

This year, I'm finally doing it. I used this recipe I found online, and I have them all wrapped in cheesecloth ready to go. You might even get one. You never know.

6 Comments:

Blogger Meegan said...

I never thought anyone would be able to do this, but I think you've sold me on fruitcake!

1:08 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Yay! My work here is done. :-)

1:21 PM  
Blogger clearing said...

Hi dolly!

Thank you for your sympathetic comment about my miscarriage of twins or triplets...or whatever...a bunch.. (XXX)

We love fruitcake at our house too and we make the boozish one as well.

Loved reading your memories!

C

2:54 PM  
Blogger Bubbles said...

My favorite part of fruitcake are the fake bright red candy cherries. What could be bad?

1:09 PM  
Blogger Bubbles said...

Waaaaaiiiittt a minute! I just went back and read the recipe and the aforementioned candy cherries are not included. I'm sorry, but I would have to say it would be a substandard fruitcake without them!

1:10 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

LOL! Well, I'll give you some when it's ready and you tell me if it's substandard, deal? :-)

1:12 PM  

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