Okay, so maybe fruitcake doesn’t threaten humanity… but it’s still fruitcake

image Journalism can be a dangerous profession, even for those of us who never actually leave our desk unless a “situation” develops, such as the sudden and unprovoked arrival of free donuts. On several occasions, I have found myself in harm’s way as a dozen employees stampeded into the break room (which, according to the Fire Marshal, has a “maximum occupancy level of two, as long as no one is using the commode.”) It is at those times, while being crushed between fellow employees grappling for the last maple bar, that I am reminded of just how dangerous my job can be.

But it doesn’t end there.


Not for those of us with the courage to SPEAK OUT against what is wrong with the world. Or, in my case, what is wrong with fruitcake.

As you may remember (and judging by the number of fruitcakes that have been appearing on my desk, at my home or through the window of my car, many of you do), it was last year around this time that I drew the wrath of fruitcake lovers everywhere after suggesting that untold numbers of people (source: Fox News) suffer from Fruitcake Disposal Anxiety Disorder.

To refresh your memory, FDAD occurs when the recipient of said fruitcake has feelings of anxiety over how to dispose of their gift in a way that is (a) respectful, without (b) inadvertently raising the terrorist threat level. I say this because, unlike its English counterpart, which is said to be moist and delicious, American fruitcake is known — like many U.S. food products — for its durability. This is especially true of commercially produced fruitcakes, which are primarily used to keep decorative tins from getting bent during shipping.

My flagrant disregard for fruitcake rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Particularly those who were already on edge after waking up from the holidays in a rum-induced fog. I was besieged with emails and letters from readers like Lesley Hatcher of Panama City, Fla., and Dale and Yvonne Pretzer of Florence, Ore., who promised to change my mind about fruitcake by sending me homemade samples this year.

I had no reason to suspect this would actually happen, and that I would receive enough fruitcake to finish the retaining wall in my back yard. If I had, I would’ve also flagrantly disregarded beef tenderloin and Fireball cinnamon whiskey.

But a promise is a promise. I said I would sample everything with an open mind and, in the event of a sudden fruitcake epiphany, seek immediate medical attention. After which, I would issue a formal apology to the fruitcake lovers of the world.

Just as soon as doctors had me stabilized.

Due to the volume of fruitcake I have been consuming, this process has taken longer than expected since I’ve spent most of the last few weeks hung over and picking candied fruit from my teeth. However, I’m willing to admit I may have overstated things when I called fruitcake a “threat to humanity.” The same goes for what I said about launching fruitcakes into space as a defense against alien invaders.

The truth is, I may have to renounce my title as “Ned Hickson: The Fruitcake Grinch,” as given to me by the Pretzers. I’m not saying I’ll be joining the Society for the Preservation of Fruitcake any time soon. Only that I’d be willing to put myself in harm’s way should we experience an unprovoked fruitcake attack again next year.

Which brings us to our next topic: My flagrant disregard for live-shipped Maine lobster…

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available here from Port Hole Publications for Christmas)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

44 thoughts on “Okay, so maybe fruitcake doesn’t threaten humanity… but it’s still fruitcake”

  1. Oooooh…put me down as a Live Lobster Grinch, too! I want in on that! 🙂

    Not to add to the list of those who came to the defense of fruitcake, but I put it to you that if you have only ever tasted dry, hard, molar-cracking fruitcake, you have been hanging with the wrong Christmas crowd. My grandmother made fruitcakes that people fought over…and paid her big bucks to get their hands on. They were filled with walnuts and golden raisins, and only a hint of that crappy, day-glo red and green candied fruit. And…not giving away any big secrets, here…they were soaked for several weeks in the best rum her pension check would buy. When you unwrapped one of Mama L’s fruit cakes, your eyes would water, and you could get a pretty good buzz just from inhaling the aroma that wafted up out of the tin container. (Of course, dirty socks soaked in that much rum would probably accomplish the same thing. I’m just sayin’……)

    At any rate, the Fruitcake Of The Gods gene skips at least three generations, apparently, since neither my mother, my daughter or myself seem to have inherited it. And the Heavenly, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Divinity gene, as well. *sigh* A shame really. But honestly, any recipe that calls for a candy thermometer and learning how to do the “cook until a ball forms in cold water” test is just not happening in my kitchen.

    But now you’ve done it. I was having a perfectly nice holiday season, until you made me hungry for that wonderful fruitcake. And now I’m thinking of those long-ago days spent helping my grandmother bake her Christmas fruitcakes. (My help consisted mostly of getting to lick the batter out of the bowl before washing it, I’m afraid. An ugly job, but somebody’s got to do it.) How I wish I could travel back to that kitchen just one more time.

    1. What a wonderful bitter-sweet memory, Marcia, much like the fruitcake I have tasted. But your grandmother’s sound pretty amazing. Then again, so do those socks… 😉

      1. Yeah, rum soaked anything is pretty damn good. Sort of like butter…I’d eat cotton balls dipped in drawn butter. The good thing? Cheaper than lobster. The bad? It’s hell to get those fibers out from between yer teeth!

                1. I like this marcia….can I be your friend at your next rum party? I’ll even bring my own cotton..balls,swabs,pads ….(im feeling my inner forest gump coming thru)..you had me and rum, butter and cotton…

  2. Haha…this is hilarious! My great uncle brought homemade fruitcake to Thanksgiving and then tried to dump mini loaves on all his nephews and nieces. I love him but it was just a lot of bourbon for the kids. He should have gone with some nice maple bars or something.

                1. I gotta go too…but not for the same reasons. I got a hot date tonite. lets hope there is saliva involved…*she grins from ear to ear* …and if not? HE may be a keeper. I like gentlemen…

  3. You have obviously never tasted my fruitcake. However the cost of shipping from the Land Down Under and the obvious fumes wafting from the cake (that may draw the tracker dogs at the post office) puts me off sending you some 😉

  4. “For months they have lain in wait, dim shapes lurking in the forgotten corners of houses and factories all over the country and now they are upon us, sodden with alcohol, their massive bodies bulging with strange green protuberances, attacking us in our homes, at our friends’ homes, at our offices—there is no escape, it is the hour of the fruitcake.” ~Deborah Papier

    Glad I’ve been spared so far. 😉

  5. i am surprised that no one has created a maple bacon salted caramel gluten free low carb organic half-caf decaf vodka infused artisanal fruitcake yet. it seems the thing to do.

  6. Lisa, come on down! Bring all of the afore-mentioned goodies, too. It’s enough for a whole Christmas dinner! Don’t tell Ned we’re doing this, though. As the owner of this blog, he might feel entitled to come along as well, and then there he’ll be, lounging around, sopping up all the drawn butter with the last of the cotton balls, and bitchin’ about the fruitcake. Tsk. We’ll just keep it our secret, okay?

  7. Dude. I laughed my butt off! It’s even funnier, because THIS came across my Kansas City Star news feed right before I read your post!


    Hopefully, this won’t spam up your comments…be sure to look at the pictures in the upper right and see how rough this confection is on dental health.

    Just remember, for every fruitcake you shun, there’s a old, almost dead monk who put his heart and soul (and whatever else plastic sitting in the kitchen) into that thing.

    I hope you can take care of that lobster thing. Let me know if you need any help with that.

        1. LOL! One day, a monk probably spilled his trail mix into the cement mixer and had an epiphany… “Hey, we could make FRUITCAKES!”

          You have a great Friday too 😉

  8. I can consume those things as long as there is brandy involved and it’s really soaked. Maybe adding a scoop of ice cream while the darn thing gets heated up so it melts on top of it. Okay, I have talked enough on this subject and moving on, I have been remiss in not reading you as often as I should! Smiling at you and wishing you a happy holiday season, with or without finding a good hiding place or burial place for the fruitcake, Ned!

    1. I think what you’re getting at is that you can eat fruitcake the same way people eat most English cuisine: by hiding the taste with other things that actually taste good.

      Thanks for the smiles and kind wishes, and for stopping back in 😉

      My best holiday wishes to you as well!

      And good luck with that fruitcake…

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