Much-maligned fruitcake not all bad

By Helena Rodriguez: Local Columnist

I like fruitcake. There, I admit it. Shoot me!

Yes, you read right. My name is Helena Rodriguez and I like fruitcake.

I didn’t say I’m a fruitcake, but these days, admitting during the Christmas season that you like fruitcake, for reasons other then using them as door stoppers or speed bumps, like say, actually consuming these bricks of candied fruit and nuts, is like coming out of the closet. Or should I say pantry?

Yes, I like fruitcake, so I’m officially coming out of the pantry this Christmas.

It has come to my attention, and I feel an urgent need to notify the Christmas patrol, that a group of fruitcake moggers are trying to redefine these age-old (yes, some of these delicacies may be that old) holiday delicacies. It’s probably a part of the same conspiracy group trying to take the “Christ” out of Christmas and call Christmas trees “holiday trees.” They’ve taking this conspiracy a step further and are now attacking my beloved fruitcake.

In an effort to appease the anti-fruitcakers, this conspiracy group is trying to instill fear and dread for the very word “fruitcake.” They’re resorting to labels such as “pecan cake” or get this, “a fruit and nut dessert bar,” as I recently saw advertised on a Ye Old English brand package. Soon they’ll have their own set of color-coded terrorist threat levels to alert people in danger of being given a fruitcake:

“Code Yellow in progress at West Campus Apartments! Over!”

Fruitcakes are also being given commercial names such as Jack Daniels’ Bourbon Cake or Meyer’s Rum Cake. They used to be called plumcakes, but the candied cherries and pineapples soon stole the show and hence came the politically correct term fruitcake.

People either have a love or hate relationship with fruitcake. When I worked for the Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, Texas, two men would duke it out in our publication every Christmas, one being the pro-fruitcaker and the other an anti-fruitcaker.

As for me … it became apparent that I was different at an early age, that first year I took note of the fruitcake Grandma Emma set out. I found myself picking at the nuts and candied cherries. Soon there was no turning back. No one else was eating it, but I didn’t care. That meant more for me.

Being a fan of fruitcake, I sometimes feel like that model in the old advertisement who says, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!” I say, “Don’t point your fingers at me because I have such good taste and you don’t!”

Obviously, I’m not alone. There are other fruitcakes, I mean people who like fruitcake, waiting to come out of the pantry. Otherwise these highly dreaded bricks of fruit — which are probably among us all year but which we don’t recognize living among us until they unite and overtake us during Christmas — wouldn’t seem to suddenly appear on store shelves much to the opposition of anti-fruitcakers.

Of course, there’s no way of knowing how many of these fruitcakes are actually eaten or become family heirlooms. In Manitou Springs, Colo., they hold an annual fruitcake toss in January and Web sites are filled with ideas of things to do with fruitcake. You can use them as candle holders, knife rests, door knockers, etc.

But as an admitted fruitcake proponent, I say, don’t knock it, toss it, kick it or use it as a hammer until you actually taste it. You just might like it.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com