Let us now consider Christmas foods. It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong. So I seldom can admit to being wrong even when confronted with overwhelming evidence. The pecan log in my eye is seldom as noticeable as the fruitcake in the eye of my neighbor. However, I recently heard John Lennon’s Christmas song and had a moment of clarity. Ponder John’s lyrics: “So this is Christmas/And what have you done/Another year over/A new one’s just begun.”
    {mosimage}After hearing John, I resolved to start the year by getting right with fruitcakes.
    I admit to being an anti-fruitcakeite. It’s an ugly admission but I want to move on. I hereby and forthwith offer my sincere and humble apologies to fruitcakes everywhere. Many individuals actually enjoy making their own fruitcakes at home. The king of all fruitcake producers is the Claxton Fruit Cake company in Georgia. I particularly apologize to the Claxton Fruitcake Company — a company about which I have made bad jokes for periods of time from which the memory of man runneth not. I vow never to make another joke about fruitcakes. I do not extend that courtesy to the state of New Jersey, however. Whenever I am introduced to someone from New Jersey I will always ask them “What exit?” This stupid joke never fails to amuse me and irritate some innocent Yankee.
    In the interest of full disclosure, let me explain my long and tortured history with fruitcakes. When I was a lad, my sainted mother Sally Dickey would always obtain several Claxton fruitcakes for the Christmas season. We were compelled to eat fruitcake. I lived in a fruitcake nightmare. She would give fruitcakes as Christmas presents. I cannot remember a time in which Santa and fruitcake did not share equal Christmas billing in our home. The fruitcakes always beat Santa to the house and remained long after he had reindeered off to the North Pole. Fruitcakes would lurk in our refrigerator in July.
    As I grew older, I became suspicious of fruitcake. I realized that unlike fruitcake, not all cakes had the consistency of concrete. I began to wonder what those little green things were that inhabited the fruitcake. There are no clear green fruits in nature. Could they be thin slices of space aliens from Mars? Were fruitcake companies conducting some hideous biological experiments on secret farms surrounded by armed guards in which they raised clear green fruit to feed Americans? How could fruitcakes remain just as good two years after they were purchased as they were the day they came home from the grocery store? Was fruitcake one word or two? Should people eat a cake that can double as a door stop or be used as a baseball bat? The house of fruitcake has many unanswered questions.
    At Christmas we would travel from Fayetteville to my grandparent’s home in Washington, D.C. This trip meant stopping at Stuckey’s. I will always associate the elegant and delicious Stuckey’s pecan log with Christmas. We would purchase a pecan log and share it in the car on the long trip in the days before President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system.
    Stuckey’s was the home of the most amazing Christmas presents imaginable: ceramic donkeys, goofy license plates and the magic drinking bird who would repeatedly dip his beak into a glass of water. My personal favorite was the chicken with the thermometer protruding from his tail feathers. The chicken thermometer was truly the epitome of western civilization. Any nation which could mass produce chicken thermometers was guaranteed by Manifest Destiny to invent adjustable rate mortgages. What boy would not want a chicken thermometer? A chicken thermometer was hilarious and yet totally functional to measure the Fahrenheit around a slice of fruit cake.
    My reason to apologize to fruitcakes is that the lowly fruitcake is the only thing that has held its value all these years. Consider the stock market and your house. Are they worth as much now as last Christmas? The fruitcake holds its value. You can build a house out of fruitcakes if you have enough. If times get really tough during the coming deflation you can even eat fruitcake. Fruitcakes of America I salute you.
Merry Christmas.

Contact Pitt Dickey at [email protected]
 
 

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