Monday, December 19, 2005

A Christmas thought

I take a moment to rise to the defense of a beloved part of my personal Christmas celebration. It has nothing to do with God and my spiritual life except that it brings me joy and it is a shared work within my family that draws us together at the holidays.

It's also one of the most universally derided parts of the season.

Yes, it's fruitcake.

Let me state from the outset that what most of you know as fruitcake, a sugar encrusted lump with a density just slightly less than lead is an abomination before the Lord. Do not send these things to one another, do not accept them from others. I refuse to even sniff such offerings.

Fruitcake in my family is home made. The cake exists only to the extent that it holds the fruit together. The fruit (this is the ONLY time that pineapple enters my mouth) is soaked in brandy then baked for hours in a batter of flour and spices. The result is a heavy cake (there's about 4 pounds of ingredients in our recipe) that is just brimming with flavors. The cake is then wrapped in cheese cloth and aged for about a month (I'm behind schedule this year so we're going to see if vacuum packing pulls more flavors out) occasionally sprinkled with more brandy. Then it is sliced and savored.

My brothers and I love it. Our wives and children haven't come around on it yet. That's fine, there's more for us!

When my mom passed away in October I realized that our loss could be compounded since she had taken on the fruitcake baking duties for the last several years. Please don't think that I'm saying the lack of fruitcake is somehow equal to losing Mom, it's not. But the first Christmas without Mom will be hard enough. I think it's vital that we maintain our traditions, the traditions that we were taught by our parents. In doing so they will continue to be with us. So over the weekend I broke out the monstrous mixing bowl she used and peered at the stained, hand written recipe.

The fruitcake's done now and beginning it's aging process. My mom and dad will be remembered in part this Christmas as I slice off that first piece of fruitcake.

So you can just take your fruitcake trash talk somewhere else. That don't play at my house.

In case I don't get a chance to blog again this week. A Merry Christmas to you all. Remember what the holiday is really about - God caring enough for his creation to become part of it. To walk with us, laugh with us, cry with us. And maybe even enjoy a bit of fruitcake.


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