The Heartbreaking Tale of the Post-Mortem Fruitcake

Egyptian archaeologists discover the world's oldest fruitcake.

Christmas revolved around fruitcake.  Mother pinched pennies for weeks to buy the candied fruit and nuts required to bake the perfect fruitcake.  On December 22, everything else was in readiness for FRUITCAKE baking.  She chopped the nuts, candied fruit, brought out her spices  and pulled out her time honored recipe for the perfect fruitcake which only graced our table during the Christmas Season.  Baking the fruitcake was a sacred tradition, which we looked forward to it simply because it meant Christmas was almost here.  The eating of the cake was irrelevant.  The tradition was what mattered.

My maternal grandmother died December 16, 1964.  We were all devastated. She was the indulgent figure in out lives. Her rare visits had a holiday quality.  Her gifts were provided a few luxuries in our lives  I couldn’t imagine life without her.  She had mailed her Christmas gifts to us on the morning before she died in the night..  It arrived two or three days after her funeral.  It was a macabre feeling, being anxious to find out what she’d sent, knowing she was in her grave.

In the way of kids everywhere, we rallied and had a wonderful Christmas.  The gifts had special meaning, knowing they’d be the last.  I still have a tiny jewelry box from that year.  My poor brother managed to turn this sad situation into a mess.  Grandma had included a small fruit cake in a red tin box.  Mother put it up, intending to serve it on a special occasion.  Naturally, this fruitcake from her mother was elevated to the sacred.  Well, my brother Bill must have had a special occasion of his own.  Mother found the empty fruitcake tin hidden in his room, not a crumb left.

She was furious!  He had eaten her dead mother’s fruitcake……….the last gift she’d ever sent.  He lived to regret his theft.  She didn’t let him forget it for weeks, getting weepy every time she saw the shiny red box, sitting in a place of honor on the table. She keeps buttons and thread in that box till today.

This is probably the only documented story of anyone ever actually eating, much less stealing a fruitcake!

32 thoughts on “The Heartbreaking Tale of the Post-Mortem Fruitcake

  1. The comment above about the alcoholic fruitcake put me in mind of a friend whom I was helping booking Christmas puddings and cakes and she told me she had some left from the previous year that she’d been imbibing in brandy throughout the year. Christmas puddings are usually flambeed so I wondered if the fire brigade had been called in just as a precautionary measure!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Silver Threading says:

    Oh, my gosh! I loved this story! I love fruitcake. Years ago, I made one that even my kids ate. They did not know that I added rum to it, though! LOL! ❤


  3. I didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh at your post. I can’t imagine getting presents in the mail a few days after a relative’s death. And brother Bill was probably just hungry, don’t you think?

    My mother and I only made fruitcake once. I was home at Thanksgiving, and we made a Hawaiian rum fruitcake – with pineapple, coconut, cherries and lots and lots of rum. Every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas, that fruitcake required another dousing of rum. I have to tell you- when we finally sliced the cake on Christmas eve, one bit was enough to cause tipsiness. Best fruit cake ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your brother is the worst! I hope he has learned to change his selfish ways! What a horrible thing to do! I feel so sorry for your poor mother after reading your stories. Nobody deserves to suffer such a monster!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A friend of mine made her cake and left it to cool so that she could marzipan and ice it later. Her son came in and cut himself a hefty wedge.
    She marzipaned and iced it anyway, and when he asked for a piece at Christmas, she pointed to the gap and told him No. He’d already had his!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How sad that your brother hoarded and ate that very special fruitcake. I can imagine how your mother must have felt. I never cared much about fruitcake but I didn’t hate it either. I remember back when fruitcake was a special gift to give and to receive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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