- Put out canned goods in special bag on front porch for St. Nicholas Day food drive in the morning
Travel back in time and remember to buy extra canned goods at the grocery store for St. Nicholas day food drive on Saturday morning
- Rummage through pantry to find canned goods to put out for St. Nicholas Day food drive in the morning
- Add canned goods to shopping list because we are now out of canned goods
- Go to grocery store, pick up canned goods
- Drop girls with their father for a couple of hours
- Go Christmas shopping for girls in blessed, blessed solitude (well, except for the eleventy squillion other shoppers)
- Hit LCBO for sherry
- And cheap French merlot
- Pick up some fruitcake
There. I said it. My name is Alison, and I like fruitcake.
I know I've just put myself into the tiny minority of the population that sees this dessert as something other than a bad joke. Maybe it's my British heritage, but one of the best things to look forward to at Christmas is a slice of rich moist fruitcake with sweet marzipan icing and a glass of sherry.
I've been blessed to know some fantastic fruitcake bakers in my time. When I lived in Toronto, there was Mike, at work, who baked a light and a dark fruitcake and would invite you to his office at Christmastime for a slice of cake and a small glass of sherry and a chat. Also during the Toronto years was David, whose cakes were soaked in enough rum and brandy that you could not legally drive after having a slice. It was the best dessert at the pot luck Christmas lunch every year if you were smart enough to like fruitcake. And a couple of years ago, Paula, the mum of one of Leah's friends, gave me a delicious fruitcake she'd baked in a mini loaf tin, just enough to last me a couple of days. It rocked.
In fact, since I've been on my own, my Christmas Eve ritual has been to put the girls to bed, and after they have fallen asleep and I've put the presents under the tree and stuffed the stockings and hung them from the mantle, I cut myself a slice or two of fruitcake, pour myself a glass of sherry, put another log on the fire, turn off all the lights except the twinkling multicoloured lights of the tree, and savour the delicious combination of flavours while I watch my favourite Christmas movie, Die Hard. (What? Not a Christmas movie, you say? It takes place on Christmas Eve, remember?)
Oh, who am I kidding. In theory that's my ritual. That's what I plan to do every year. But the cold hard truth of the matter is that once the girls are asleep, I can usually be found dragging all the presents up from the basement and I end up wrapping until 3 a.m. when I toss down a rum and eggnog and stagger off to bed for a couple of hours of sleep before the girls get up.
But on Christmas day, once the presents are open, and the girls are playing with their new toys, I'm eating fruitcake. And loving it.