I know. Listen to voices in the media—comedians, chatty newscasters and even advertisers—and you'll come away with the idea that no one likes fruitcake. In fact, no one even tries to eat them, instead making them ammunition in fruitcake tosses and other seasonal activities for fruitcake-haters. Then there's the joke that there really is only one fruitcake that has been passed around for centuries.
Fruitcakes (that's plural!) have been around for a millennium, at least. The ancestor of today's fruitcake was concocted by the Romans, and the fruitcake habit was spread along with the Roman legions throughout Europe. Each nation produced its own variety, from German stollen to Italian panforte to England's dense versions featuring marzipan and royal icing.
How can something so widespread be so generally reviled? There must be many of us, scattered throughout Western civilization, who actually enjoy fruitcake. But there's no denying that contemporary American culture frowns on the homely fruitcake.
Apparently the innocent generosity of the "cakers" is the source of so much resentment from the "anti-cakers." I gave a fruitcake as a gift. Once. That was when I found out that not everyone appreciates this delicacy. How was I to know? I grew up in a family of fruitcake eaters. A gooey slice of Claxton fruitcake was a staple snack during the Christmas seasons of my childhood.
I meant well. All fruitcake givers mean well. So please, America, can we let up on fruitcake? Can we start joking about jellied cranberry sauce, instead? Why are lovers of that stuff not the butt of jokes?
But, no. I mustn't take my cue from the anti-cakers. Surely the holiday table has room for all sorts of dishes that may not be everyone's cup of tea, such as pate or oyster dressing. Today I assert my right to enjoy this traditional Christmas cake. This year I will eat fruitcake boldly, right out in the open. That is, after I put on a hoodie and sunglasses and slip into an out-of-the-way grocery store to buy some.