Friday, December 18, 2009

The Dubious Tale of Aunt Abigail's Christmas Cake

The Christmas Cake is a particular sort of fruitcake, made especially for the holiday season. Comprised, I'm told, of: currants;, sultanas; candied cherries; plus enough butter and brown sugar to make your arteries harden, just looking at it. And, perhaps to make certain that no calorie-free void remains, syrup.

Prepared in the traditional manner, a "healthy Christmas cake" is an oxymoron: a contradiction in concepts. The entire point of baking a Christmas cake is to create a sumptuous and durable treat which, if necessary, can serve as a doorstop.

Which reminds me of Aunt Abigail's Christmas cake, baked not long after Disneyland opened.

Aunt Abigail mailed the massive fruitcake to her nephew's family, who had recently moved to California.

The nephew was touched by Aunt Abigail's kindness. He was also touched by the kind gift sent his family by his wife's Aunt Waverly: another fruitcake. Aunt Waverly's Christmas cake was tasted by the family. Aunt Abigail's was saved "for later."

"Later" stretched on, as weeks and months passed by. Around November of the next year, Aunt Waverly's cake had not been finished. The nephew weighed his options: and decided to give Aunt Abigail's fruitcake to a cousin's family.

And so the travels of Aunt Abigail's fruitcake began. Each year the mass of preserved fruits and nuts found itself in a new home: where it was admired; set aside "for later;" and ultimately sent forth to continue its journey.

Who knows? This year Aunt Abigail's fruitcake may arrive at your home.

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