Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fruitcake Tradition

This is my first attempt at 'blogging' ... my daughter actually piqued my interest with her own blog. I'm taking 'baby steps' ... I don't wish to ask for help from my resident computer guru ... can a blog be personal? That sounds like an oxymoron. Oh, I digress ... where does one start ... perhaps at the beginning ... that's almost 63 years ago. That just does not seem possible ... while this ole body aches a lot of the time, inside I feel 30 years old most times.

Let's start with why I chose "Fruitcake Sandy" as my 'signature' ... it's really not because I AM a fruitcake ... well ??? I don't think I'm a fruitcake! I am honestly called that name by a certain sector of my family ... My own father was the only one that ever called me Sandy ... my mother, stepfather, the grandmother who helped raise me and even my husband do not care for nicknames, but I was/am Sandy to my dad's side of the family. My stepmother made fruitcakes each year and sent them to family members. The 'recipe' was/is considered secret ... no one else even attempted to make the cakes. For several years after my dad died, I traveled to Oregon to help her bake these delicious treats. My 'step' was very particular about her ingredients ... she pitted her own dates, bought bulk candied pineapple, measured & folded precisely cut pieces of foil (that had been individually greased to 'lift' the cakes out of the baking pans, she also ordered special boxes to ship the cakes across the country. It was a busy, busy two days to produce only 14 small fruitcakes. And I only thought THAT was hectic ...

When my stepmother passed away, I received a folder of recipes from my brother, who lived next door to her in Oregon. Among the recipes was the prized one for her fruitcake. Oh, did I mention that the same brother was absolutely nuts about this fruitcake? It took a couple of years but between Bro One and my husband, I succumbed to the pressure and started making the fruitcakes and mailing them to family members. One of the first attempts went horribly awry ... I took shortcuts ... there I said it! I bought pitted dates, I only greased the pans, I didn't use foil to lift them out, I did not want to spend a small fortune ordering boxes .. I took shortcuts. One evening I was reading the recipe ... measuring, dicing, greasing pans, shifting the dry ingredients (not several times as instructed) ... I did not realize that I used SODA rather than baking powder ... I DID realize the error when the cakes oozed out over the pans onto the oven floor ... utterly ruined. Luckily, I had only been making half of the batch, but it was still a disaster. I think my husband thought I had truly lost my mind as I was actually laughing as I cleaned up the mess. I told him that my stepmother was shaking her finger at me and telling me "I told you so..." in Heaven.

I haven't had any more of those kind of problems since and I still bake the fruitcakes ... 16 of them each Christmas ... and still take some shortcuts. Several of my family have passed away, but I still mail the fruitcake to an aunt in Oregon who has a tradition of sharing it with her daughter-in-laws on Christmas Eve (the 'boys' don't like fruitcake ... can you imagine???) I've 'adopted' several friends and neighbors who love the cakes, as well. Now ... it would seem obvious I guess why Fruitcake Sandy, right? Not really, no one referred to me with my fruity nickname as I carried on the 'tradition' for several years ...THEN I attended a family reunion of sorts ... only my dad's side of the family. We were celebrating an uncle's 80th birthday .. relatives from Oregon had made the trip back to Missouri. I didn't recognize my cousins or their spouses .... having not seen any of them in eons. In the parking lot of the restaurant, I saw a group of people approaching me and when my aunt called out "Sandy" as she hugged me, a cousin's wife announced "So this is Fruitcake Sandy" And so it began .. I now wear a tee shirt to prove it, too!

1 comment:

Terry said...

What a wonderful blessing thank you for sharing your nickname and the delightful story behind it.
I come from a long line of family nicknamers on my Dad's side.
Thus the name of my blog is made up of a few .
I love the story of your trial and error with the fruitcake recipe.
I wish I had my grannys recipes.
My Mother doesn't cook and I love to cook but because my Mom doesn't no one realized I wanted grannys recipes and now they are gone.Your blog is truly wonderful.
I am new to the computer and the blogging world.My son thought it would do me good and it has.
I can't wait to stop by for regular visits until than take care.
Be blessed.