12/03/2006

Fruitcake Weather







Truman Capote and his cousin Sook











I got an e-mail from a friend gently inquiring about fruitcake. Some people think of fruitcake as holiday doorstops, but they haven’t tasted mine. I really can’t boast or really call the fruitcake “mine” because it’s truly Aunt Pearl’s Fruitcake. I never had the pleasure of meeting Pearl. She was the relative of a friend of mine, and every Christmas I would find myself sniffing around their house to see if the mysterious Aunt had forwarded a loaf of heaven their way. Eventually Aunt Pearl wrote down her recipe and my friend gave me a copy. The sad fact is that we are no longer in touch. In fact, we had a bad break, but I do think of Leesa and thank her every time I make a batch of fruitcakes.

Es and I read Truman Capote’s beautiful “A Christmas Memory,” which describes his elderly cousin declaring: "Oh my,....it's fruitcake weather!" I don’t think it was actually fruitcake weather yesterday, but that didn’t stop me from getting all Christmassy in the head. There was a pocket of free time and fruitcakes to be made. We assembled all of the ingredients, cracked a few eggs (The Girl's first on her own!) and at the end of the day had the great satisfaction of seeing the beautiful bumpy loaves lined up on the kitchen counter. Capote’s cousin, according to the story, sent one of hers to Eleanor Roosevelt. I can’t think of a politician today worthy of these cakes, but I suppose if Eleanor Roosevelt were around I’d offer her one.

For years I never shared the recipe, being faithful to Aunt Pearl and keeping the fruitcake as a special holiday gift. Then one year I acquiesced. I gave the recipe to a friend and then…a while later our friendship collapsed. Isn’t that interesting? Is the recipe jinxed? I’m not going to mess with it; I’m keeping it for myself, and if you’re lucky you’re on my list for a little fruitcake this year.

6 comments:

Ken Sternberg said...

"A Christmas Memory" is one of the most wonderful stories ever written. It makes me cry whenever I read it, and reminds me how much I miss having Capote in this world. I especially like Mr. Ha Ha.

Anonymous said...

We are among those fortunate enough to get one of Deb's fruitcakes each year, and Mary Anne loves it. She describes it as not being overly loaded with candied fruit, but with lots of nuts and dried fruit. It lasts about 5 days max at our house. This year I was successful and got 3 bites

Maurice (Deb's Father-in-law)

Deb St-Claire said...

I just shipped off my last fruitcake. It was kind of sad because I won't have anymore for a year. I have to think about how those who get them can savor them with a cup of coffee in the morning. (whimper)

Anonymous said...

Deb, I write for the Journal News newspaper here in Westchester, and I happen to be working a story about ... family dinners. It sounds like you're busy these days, but could you give me a call when you have a chance? Thanks!

Leah Rae
The Journal News/LoHud.com
914-694-3526.

N said...

The fruitcake was delicious. I ate it lickity split. More, please.

DANKE!

Deb St-Claire said...

N: Have to wait until Fruitcake weather comes around again.

de rien.

D.