Fruitcake lovers forced to carry a very heavy load


December 16, 1992|By ROB KASPER

The fruitcake-eating public has been roused. For several years we were passive. We let those lame jokes about fruitcakes bounce off us like maraschino cherries. The jokes about how there is only one fruitcake that gets passed around the world, or how slices of fruitcake can be used to soak up oil on the garage floor, or how fruitcake bits make a good doorstop or gopher bait.

We are not going to take it any more. We eat fruitcake and are proud of it. In response to my recent call to form an anti-fruitcake-defamation club, Friends of Fruitcake (FOF), riled-up eaters have called, written and sent me samples. The uproar rivaled the reaction I got a few years ago when I mistakenly ran a recipe that called for 2 tablespoons of baking soda instead of 2 teaspoons.

Rodney Dangerfield of desserts From: Brian Cary Sokolow, Baltimore

Dear Happy Eater,

As a founding member of Defenders of Fruitcake and an FOF member-hopeful, I must insist that you soft-pedal the not-so-obvious wonderfulness of fruitcake. The Rodney Dangerfield of dessert, fruitcake gets no respect, which is fine by me. I love them. The viler its reputation, the more there is for me.

A fruitcake defended From: Dorothy N. Wells, Baltimore

Dear Happy Eater: At last! Someone has come to the defense of that luscious treat, the fruitcake. May the Friends of the Fruitcake grow and prosper. I would be proud to become a member of such an enlightened organization.

Proof is in the papa From: Priscilla R. Evans, Baltimore

Dear Happy Eater: My proof of loyalty to FOF is that I have always had fruitcake for Christmas. When I was a child, my father made this treat for the family. . . . Sign me up as an enthusiastic member.

Fruitcake and long life From: Marion M. Pahl, Cockeysville.

Dear Happy Eater: Count me as a very loyal member of your Friends of Fruitcake. I am a senior citizen and have been . . . baking this very old white fruitcake for years for my family and friends, and they have all loved it.

White fruitcake 1 1/2 cups butter

2 cups powdered sugar

3 cups flour

2 tablespoons sour milk

baking soda on tip of knife ( 1/4 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 eggs

1 cup candied cherries

2 slices candied pineapple

1 cup almonds

1 cup black walnuts

Mix the same as any cake. (Mix butter and sugar, add flour and baking soda, then milk, vanilla, eggs, fruit and nuts.) Bake in greased loaf pan at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, then 1 hour at 275 degrees.

Dreamboat fruitcake From: Sarah W. Powers, Bel Air

Dear Happy Eater: In England, where I come from, birthday cake and wedding cake are normally fruitcake, made exactly as Christmas cake, and it is customary for the bride to give a small slice to each of her single girlfriends to place beneath the girl's pillow so she will dream of the man she will one day marry. Factory-made fruitcakes have far too many large chunks of fruit and not enough cake. A good homemade fruitcake has a larger percent of cake substance and the fruit pieces are smaller.

This holiday season I have, so far, eaten a 2-pound and a 6-pound fruitcake. I am ashamed to say I did buy them. I just can't be bothered to bake them anymore, as it is such a chore and so many people give you a look of disdain when you offer them fruitcake. So I just go and buy my fruitcake, wishing the chunk fruit were smaller. But what the heck, big fruit chunk fruitcakes are better than no fruitcake.

By the way, have you noticed that people who don't like fruitcake also do not like mince pies, yet there are no horrible jokes about mince pies?

Eater Replies: I'm not sure what the first effort of FOF should be. Perhaps a club T-shirt. Or a bake-off or an eat-in, with mince pie as a chaser. Or even a fruitcake poetry contest. But for right now, as the delicious treats and their ardent fans emerge from dormancy, I think FOF members should be content to sit back, pat our stomachs and heed the advice of our FOF motto: "Let us eat cake."

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