This, too, shall pass; that a time will come in the future, however near or distant it may be, when the travails of current day seem diffuse and lacking in gravity. On such a day, eyes will turn neither to history nor hope but rather the great commonality of all mankind: the rejection of fruitcake.
I’ve apparently spent too much time today listing books from the 19th century, but even if I jettison the archaic structure the basic truth holds. Most people don’t like fruitcake.
I’m referring not to the rare confection that avoids tasting like a stale gingerbread stuffed with jujubes (such as the Owl-recommended pastry from Collin Street Bakery) but the stuff that gets purchased at road stops or from online catalogs every year as emergency Christmas gifts. Sure, we think, maybe this one will actually taste good. But overwhelmingly, people are disappointed.
This situation is what led to the development of The Great Fruitcake Toss of Manitoba Springs, Colorado. Now in its 25th year, it is a chance for people to rid themselves of unwanted loaves, and it allows the fruitcakes to fulfill a destiny typically unavailable to them: bringing joy. (Astute readers will notice that among the toss’s sponsors is a fruitcake company, certain enough in their quality that they don’t believe their products will be among those discarded. It’s DeLuxe, aka Collin Street Bakery.)
The toss, typically held on January 3, remains scheduled for 2021 despite the pandemic. Whether a vaccine is distributed early and the show can go on as normal or there are restrictions in place due to disease transmission concerns, the hope is that many cakes will be flying again this year… and if you can get to the area, you can participate in one of the less common ways to start the new year: watching baked goods launched into the sky.
Competitions are held for accuracy and distance, with slingshots, catapults, pneumatic cannons and trebuchets all playing their part in removing the desserts from potential consumption. Fruitcake dodgeball is played with some of the more breakable cakes, preventing aberrant moisture from granting them reprieve. It’s a party where everyone is invited, a little bit of the Christmas spirit bleeding over into the new year… and something that we all might appreciate next January.
For now, though, some fruitcake ghosts of Christmas past:
Question of the night: lemon tart, cherry cheesecake, strawberry napoleon, blueberry muffin, apple turnover, key lime pie and so many others… what’s your favorite fruit-forward dessert?