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What Is with Our National Anti-Fruitcake Obsession? Have Any of You Even HAD Fruitcake?

Illustration for article titled What Is with Our National Anti-Fruitcake Obsession? Have Any of You Even HAD Fruitcake?

If an alien archaeologist were to drop to earth after the utter obliteration of the human race and try to piece our culture together based solely on Borscht Belt stand-up routines, first of all, that would be AMAZING and someone should start a tumblr (not me, I'm tired). And second of all, he (or she! In space even girls can go to college!) would assume that the human infrstructure was based entirely on some sort of macabre, masochistic fruitcake dictatorship. Everyone, it seems, is constantly being force-fed pallets of rock-hard fruitcakes by a shadowy cabal of spinster aunts, while la resistance comes up with ever more subversive and creative ways to dispose of said fruitcakes.

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We, as a culture, are so obsessed with making fun of fruitcakes for being old and stale that jokes about fruitcakes have now officially become old and stale. All of that despite the fact that I have literally never seen or heard of anyone I know actually eating a fruitcake. How can we be SO MENACED by something that is 100% not even a thing? That's like me dropping hella bon mots about how annoying it is when your polio crutch chafes your 'pits. Let's let it go.

ANAYHOOOOZ, I did greatly enjoy this Washington Post article about the fruitcake industry's struggle to resurrect its image. Because poor fruitcake industry! I'm a firm believer in the idea that there are no inherently bad foods—just bad cooks. And, sure, personal tastes can very between individuals and cultures—I will pass on the fermented shark and worm-cheese—but just because you don't personally like a food doesn't make that food yucky. I'm sure there are tasty fruitcakes in the world. Not that I would know. Because I have literally never been in the same room as one BECAUSE I AM NOT 100.

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Anyway, WaPo:

Johnny Carson most often gets the blame for fruitcake's image problem. He famously joked that there's actually only one fruitcake in the world, which gets passed from household to household. Other comedians riffed on the idea. That was way back in the 1970s, but for Dale Parker, it still stings. He's the vice president of the company that makes Claxton Fruit Cakes, in Claxton, Ga., where the city water tower reads "Fruitcake Capital of the World."

Fruitcake capital of the world.

o_____o

"In the '60s, it was different," Parker says. "Fruitcake was respected. Then along came some of the comedians, passing jokes. Fruitcake got a bad rap."

Then again, he adds, "A lot of the comedians who told those jokes, they're gone now. And we're still here."

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So basically people just hate fruitcake because they've been taught to hate fruitcake by their fruitcake-hating parents and grandparents and Alan Shemper and whoever else. FOOD-SHAMING. POUNDCAKE PRIVILEGE. This is no longer just a shitty-joke issue, it is a social justice issue, and I, personally, will not stand for it anymore. (I mean, in theory. Because seriously what are the green chunks supposed to BE, even.)

Photo credit: lisafx / Stockfresh.

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DISCUSSION

bmcgrgr
Upper-Middlebrow

Good fruitcake is made over a period of weeks using nuts, fruits and brandy. It is delightful, and indeed quite rare on this side of the pond. I've had it once, and I wish it were more of a "thing" in North America. Will & Kate's wedding cake was a fruitcake, and I salivated reading the articles where Americans made fun of them for having a fruitcake wedding cake while describing the delicious sounding process of producing the royal boozecake. Bad fruitcake is sold at supermarkets and, more often than not, is made with joo-jube (spelling guess!) candy instead of fruit, and most certainly no brandy. Hence the pathetic reputation.

Other than in grocery stores, I have only seen these bad American fruitcakes in home of one person, and the mouths of no people, so yeah, rife for parody.