Fruit + Cake.
Mom used to make fruitcake for her side of the family every year. She would gather all the elements; the containers of horrible looking syrupy fruit, walnuts, the foil pans to cook and then mail them all in (across the entire country, I may add). She would spend a day - an entire day! - making these cakes. Every year, the answer was the same, "well, they all really enjoy it," "they're expecting my fruitcake." The amount of work she put in was, for me, watching from the sidelines, staggering.
I remember one year, we had an extra, and after a couple days, Dad used it as a door stop to unload the groceries into the car. No one would eat it, and being the practical man he is, he just found another use for it. Pretty sure he was smart enough to remove it from the doorway before Mom got home from work.
I have no photos of these cakes. I cannot imagine any of us ever thinking at the time they were photo worthy. I'm not sure that Mom ever even ate them. She just made them, ritualistically, and sent them off. What the relatives in Alabama did with them, I'll never know. Sure, I could ask, but I'm just not going to open that Pandora's box. Just. Not. Going. To.
Not being a fan of any cake that includes a fruit, I always questioned the validity of cake combined with fruit. It's suspicious, in nature, and deserves hesitation at the least, before consumption. This even goes so far as to include the classics, such as strawberry short cake and Angel Food cake, which in my house, was always topped with whipped cream and fruit. The only exception is a nice chocolate confection with a few pieces of fruit as a garnish, but certainly not as the main attraction.
Admittedly, when I smell a fruit cake, it takes me back. Back to my Mom's blue kitchen, with her own sense of cluttered organization. It reminds me of the gingerbread cookies and other treats that usually came soon after. Floods me with memories.
There really is nothing like fruitcake.
|Mom, ca. 1967|
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