November 21, 2013 by lucieromarin
Today’s post was to be about post-Deluge theology. Then I read this post, entitled ‘In Defense of Fruitcake,’ and I experienced the kind of universe-rupturing bogglement that means that, instead of talking theology, I must talk cake.
What beggars belief is not only that anyone should dislike fruitcake (I mean well-made fruitcake, not dry or doughy stuff), but that they should be able to dislike it in a universe containing banana bread!
Fruitcake is nourishment. Fruitcake is a jewelled, rich, sweet slab of goodness that will sustain you for hours. It’s also truthful – it is what it says it is. Fruit + cake = fruitcake. But what exactly is banana bread? Is it cake pretending to be bread, or bread pretending to be cake? If it’s cake, why is it called ‘bread’? If it’s bread, what’s it doing on the muffin shelf in your local cafe? Bread is not cake. Bread is the outside of a sandwich. Horrid mushy fruit + bread = ????
This leads me to the most important point – how can any Catholic say he doesn’t like fruitcake, when fruitcake is clearly Catholicism in a cake? Think about it – fruitcake is ancient in origin; it’s liturgical (we associate it with Christmas); it’s soaked in alcohol; it’s universal and local; it’s sometimes gaudy and sometimes magnificent; insane people dislike it. Am I the only person in the world who looks at glazed fruit and thinks of the crown of St Stephen of Hungary? Glazed fruit isn’t meant to tasted like fruit. It’s meant to taste like jewels-as-children-see-them, turned into cake. The next time you see a glacé cherry, think of stained glass. (Actually, I have to admit that the first time I encountered an Hungarian fruitcake, which was piled high with glazed pineapple, I faltered. I also dislike almonds in fruitcake. But local custom is permissible; I don’t like birettas, either.)
Consider, in sorry contrast, that piece of banana bread. It’s a recent invention. It’s non-liturgical. It celebrates nothing. It eschews adornment. I may well be the only person in the world who looks at a fruitcake and thinks of Szent Istvan, but I can guarantee you that no one ever looked at a piece of banana bread and thought of royalty, or saints, or Christmas.
Hurray for fruitcake!