You surely know by now that I am probably the world's foremost champion of the noble fruitcake. Sad to say, I sometimes believe I am the ONLY champion.
There are so many things we encounter as we wade through life, and we often form opinions about these things based on the opinions of others without ever checking something out for ourselves. Do you ever do that?
Maybe you think all spinach is bad because you've only had spinach once, and it was poorly prepared and you won't try spinach ever again based on one experience. Is that fair?
Every gift, even those from on high, has its critics. When the Hebrews escaped into the desert for 40 years, they pretty much lived on manna provided by the Almighty himself. I have often claimed that manna is the Hebrew word for fruitcake. Like fruitcake, even manna got a bad rap after 20 or 30 years of wandering. I suppose if I had to eat fruitcake every day I might get grumpy too. Manna -- and fruitcake too -- needs to be balanced with other essential food groups: barbecue and burritos smothered in cheese sauce come to mind.
But I digress.
The Wandering Jews moaned about their heavenly food after a while. Like small children facing another bowl of oatmeal, they whined (according to one recent translation) that manna tasted like lacquer.
That's a harsh criticism.
I suspect that poorly prepared fruitcake or manna could leave a bad taste in your mouth. And if you've never had good fruitcake you might think all fruitcake tastes like plain oatmeal.
Or maybe you've heard others claim all fruitcake is lousy and you've accepted that assessment without ever trying a bite yourself.
You know, like hearing, and believing, that all (you pick the ethnic group) are lazy thieves, or all cats are snobs, or all snakes should be killed.
OK, all cats ARE snobs. And go ahead and get the snakes, as far as I'm concerned.
But give fruitcake a fair shake. Find someone with a true appreciation of fruitcake (we're few and far between) and let us guide you to a truly wonderful eating experience.
And if you are a really picky eater, I'd be happy to help you get over any phobias you might have about pecan pie or pulled pork sandwiches or cinnamon rolls.
Just ask. I like to help wherever I can. That's the kind of guy I am.
Joe Sullivan is the retired fruitcake-loving editor of the Southeast Missourian.