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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 Tis the Season; Please Eat Accordingly

Well, the calendar has turned and we have once again arrived at the holidays. Or, as I like to call it, Eating Season.

From now until January, food is going to be near, if not at, the center of everything we do. You go to someone’s house, they meet you at the door with a plate of cookies. You take the dog for a walk, neighbors are running down their front walks with plates of fudge. You go to the store, nice ladies in chef’s whites pass out cocktail weenies and fancy crackers at the end of each aisle. You go to work, someone has left a fruitcake (more on that in a minute) on the counter next to the copying machine.

Manage it properly, and you can eat for free from November to Groundhog Day. Just keep in mind you’ll be on a sugar buzz that lasts until September.

Now, it’s true that just because something is offered doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Lots of people take this approach with fruitcake. The poor souls. Then again, that means there’s for me. I love fruitcake.

I hope you realize what it takes to admit that. I’ve opened myself to ridicule from the large and vocal antifruitcake crowd - those people who for years have perpetuated the notion that fruitcake is unfit to eat, or that a fruitcake is actually a painted brick wrapped in cellophane, or that there is in fact only one fruitcake in existence, and that it just keeps getting passed from person to person.

Enough is enough. Fruitcake has figured large in every holiday I can remember, and I simply couldn’t image the season without it.

Some people say fruitcake is a regional phenomenon, popular down in the South, loathed everywhere else. I can’t accept that. We lived well north of the MasonDixon line, and ate a lot of the stuff, as did most of the people we knew. My mom used to make dozens of them, and in three varieties: Adark, rich spice cake filled with dates, raisins and Brazil nuts; a standard fruitcake from a recipe she clipped from a newspaper back in the mid-1950s; and a white one so full of good stuff that the cake, what little of it there was, served only as binder to hold the candied fruit and pecans together.

She baked them in everything from tube pans and loaf pans to coffee and orange juice cans. I can still remember coming home from school, probably in about the first grade, to find every horizontal surface in the kitchen covered with cooling fruitcakes. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven until Mom explained that they weren’t all for me, in rather direct terms: "Don’t you dare touch those fruitcakes."

Well, times have changed. Now I do the baking, and it’s my doctor who says "Don’t you dare touch those fruitcakes."

He suggests I follow the example of those people who can get though Eating Season having just a taste of this and a nibble of that, who can stop after a bite of fudge or one Mexican wedding cake (don’t you just hate those people?). What a dreamer he is.

I’ll try not to over do it, but come on, it’s Eating Season. I make no guarantees. I make fruitcakes.

And I love them.

 

 

 

© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.