Gee, Thanks for the Christmas Fruitcake! NOT.

Tell me true: have you ever eaten a Christmas fruitcake? Know anyone who has and lived to tell the tale? Didn't think so.

Okay, let's put it right out there: there's really only ONE Christmas fruitcake in the world, and we all know it. I mean, think about it. Have you ever concluded your Christmas dinner with a hearty slice of fruitcake? Especially the one you got from Great Aunt Edna again last year?

Of course not. No one would ever eat the thing unless they were starving or there were diamonds inside. If you get it early enough in the year, you rewrap it and give it to your Secret Santa partner at work.

Otherwise, you put it on a shelf for 11-1/2 months before dusting it off and passing it on to whoever's name you pulled out of the hat at the office Christmas party. C'mon, admit it.

Nuts and Berries and Fruit, Oh My!

How said fruitcake moves about so quickly and constantly from one place to another and who made the stinkin' thing in the first place will always remain a mystery, like what really happened in the first 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang. Even Stephen Hawking couldn't convincingly answer either question.

The only thing certain is that the thing is like those wax fruit that so fetchingly tempt you from your trendy neighbor's fruit bowl. They look good to eat, but the first munch will put you off the stuff for life. Come to think of it, all those colorful bits in the bread facsimile are probably wax fruit fragments anyway.

Hmmm.... food for thought, if not for belly.

Heavy on the Bacardi, Please

Honestly, the only fruitcake I've ever eaten was the kind so drenched in rum that getting it too close to the kitchen would make it catch fire (which, alas, is not as fun as it sounds). Every other time I nibbled at a regular one, I was overwhelmed by the taste of candied cloves and desisted immediately.

The good thing is that, like all decent modeling clay, it was easy to mold the slice back onto the loaf, smooth away the nibble, and rewrap it for its next round. And good luck to the next recipient.

Time for Joy and Time for Cheer

In The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien defined something called a mathom -- a white elephant gift that people pass around for decades because they have no idea what it is or what it's for. Methinks yon fruitcake is a mathom.

But despite its time- and space-bending qualities, some fateful day someone -- maybe a newly discovered space alien -- will eat that loaf... clay bread, wax fruit, evil-tasting spices and all. And at that point, either the universe will implode, or it will spontaneously generate a new Christmas fruitcake for everyone to avoid.



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