Pique n' Your Interest 

What's the deal with fruitcake?

I’d like to think that I'm the type of person who is open to rare and odd delicacies, particularly around the holiday season, and I would also like to add that when it comes to my daily discourse, I rarely use the word "hate".

However, every year when Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and glow worm snowmen arrive, so too arrives a Christmas anomaly that I will quite freely declare – over a bullhorn if I have to – that I hate: fruitcake. I hate fruitcake! And I think that fruitcake may even hate me. My counsellor says that our relationship needs work.

First of all, other than random British relatives, who else eats it? Okay, perhaps a small percentage of you may – but you are probably also the type to enjoy a ripe pickled egg first thing in the morning.

The majority of us have blanked out our first (and last) fruitcake eating experience from our memory base due to olfactory damage and taste bud trauma.

When I was a wee lass staring up at my mom under the fringe of my bowl cut and the blinding glitter of tinsel, I too thought that FC would be at the top of my list, alongside ice cream cake and an array of after school concoctions.

Logistically it made perfect sense: I loved fruit, I loved cake – why not?

Yet somehow a miscalculation between the two seemed to have occurred, probably around the 1800s, in a back alleyway in the East End of London, the same time Eliza Doolittle was learning how to enunciate and the anticipation of Father Christmas was just a twinkle in Father Capitalism’s eye.

It was one of our drunken forefathers that created the first cake ’o fruit – Angus the Baker – the uncle with really long side burns and wiry eyebrows who was chronically bitter because he wanted to be the town butcher instead of the town baker and decided to channel his frustration into baked goods while drinking malt liquor.

After researching this matter a little further, I believe that the invention of fruitcake (a.k.a. piggy pudding) was a product of his misadventures: a little too much baking soda and beard sweat and a tad too many shrivelled up maraschino cherries.

So there he was, Uncle Angus, with his black apron on one cold morning, thinking to himself (insert thick British accent), "Angus, ye can't beke no more of these wee fluffy thengs. Beke yer family a rrreal cake! A hearty one that'll put hair on the chests of yer grrowin beoys."

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