Memories of ingredients being stirred in large bowls to make Fruitcake, dance in the recesses of my mind. Baking fruitcake was an all day affair during the Christmas Holiday. My first memory was at five years old watching my mother in the kitchen as she measured, poured, stirred, and baked the mystery cake that I knew nothing of. What intrigued me the most about the ingredients were the colored cherries and fruits and nuts that she would mix into the rich, dark batter. Mom would pour rum in some bowls that were especially set aside for the adults.
My favorite part after baking the individual cakes, was to wrap them and deliver them to our neighbors. Through the years, I would hear people say how much fruitcake was not their favorite because it was hard and they did not prefer the taste. My memory of my mother’s cake was moist and tasty and most favorable in my mind.
Every Christmas my mother would prepare 2 large pots of Seafood Gumbo and a large pot of rice. My mother was a natural hostess and entertainer and she would don me the “little” hostess. I would take out the best china and silver; wash and dry preparing them for 10 to 20 guests that were invited for such a wonderful meal.
I had the task of setting the table in its proper order. I then would set out the h’orderves on trays and small pretzels and nuts in their appropriate bowls to be set out on the living room coffee and end tables. Candles were lit, and center pieces in place. Jazz music would be swaying in the background with an occasional Christmas tune.
Guests would arrive…drinks and cocktails would be offered. And being the “little” hostess would have the pleasure of serving and making sure, each guest had their full. Appetizer trays stayed replenished as lot’s of grown-up talk and laughter filled the room. My father with his smoking jacket on, (even though he didn’t smoke) would ensure each guest had something to talk about, as his humor lit up the room.
What wonderful memories of Christmas twirl in my mind knowing we shared good food for the soul.