Fruitcake and thoughts of growing older.

I am wondering if one of the signs of getting older is an inordinate craving for fruitcake. November rolls around, my birthday now past, the signal to nest away for the coming winter wells up, and I find myself scrounging for currants, raisins, dates, other fruits, and a jar big enough to hold them as they receive their baptism of hard spirits. Being an acquired taste for many, the revered and ritually prepared seasonal delicacy carries with it, an essense of powdered lilac, and grandmother’s china, laced doilies, and chests full of memories too close to the heart to be peeled away. So the thinly sliced pieces lay- marzipaned or not- inviting all to partake of that which binds us together at holiday times. The brandied, macerated, and no longer recognizable fruits have taken on a life of their own in a sea of buttery, spiced batter. How many bottles of spirits were added this year? Let’s see, two bottles of brandy, one of cognac, that orange flavored liquer…what is it again…grand marnier?. Perhaps a little rum for good luck (my son is horrified…). It is the irony of a Jewish mother’s Christmas cake…once again fusing the traditions that are so dear and at times, inextricably woven together in the fabric of my being. And now, in my semi-comatose state, I fall into bed, having kept the watch, delivered the precious cakes from their cozy incubus, and painted them with the apricot jelly/brandy glaze that will keep them until that special day. No Virginia, there is not ONE fruitcake that makes it’s way through the postal system, being passed from relative to relative like some old football. My cakes are made with so much love, that to eat a piece is to be kissed by the angelus.

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