Back on Dec. 15, 2006, I penned a column titled "There's no defense for fruitcake," in which I poked fun at fruitcake and the fact the town of Springfield had come to its defense through its appropriately named Springfield Defends Fruitcake competition. 

Of course, I don't hate fruitcake. I have eaten more than my share of it over the years. There's no defense for my bashing fruitcake, but I just can't help myself -- I will always be the Fruitcake Grinch! It is such an easy target. Bashing fruitcake is too much fun to quit.

To mark the 2017 edition of Springfield Defends Fruitcake this Saturday, Nov. 4, let's revisit my 2006 column:

"Fruitcake can’t be defended. It’s just plain awful.

"Most people with good taste let fruitcakes cure a few years, then use them as doorstops or speed bumps. Eat fruitcake? Never!

"And yet, the people of Springfield actually celebrate fruitcake with an annual Best Fruitcake contest, which is an oxymoron.

"At least it’s all for a good cause – to raise funds for restoration of the old Springfield High School.

"Over the years, I’ve thought of a lot of good uses for fruitcake other than as food. After they’ve sat a while, you can use them as paperweights or as ballast for ships. When fruitcakes get a little age on them, they turn hard as bricks. Hey, maybe the mob used them to sink Jimmy Hoffa’s body in the Hudson River.

"My grandmother made her fruitcakes in October and then drenched them in bourbon, placed an apple in the center and wrapped them in cheesecloth. She stored them in the pantry the weeks prior to Christmas and, during that time, we had absolutely no problem with rodents. My theory is that the rats smelled the fruitcakes and ran shrieking from the house. Exterminators ought to use fruitcakes in their arsenal of pest eliminators.

"Here are some other uses for fruitcakes:

  • As substitutes for leg irons on prisoners. (They won’t get far lugging around two fruitcakes.)
  • Grindstones in grist mills.
  • Indestructible heat shields for NASA spacecraft.
  • Inventory control sensors on clothing to thwart shoplifters. (You might be able to slip out of a store with one of those dinky plastic knobs attached to the collar of a blouse, but you’d sure attract attention looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame with a fruitcake bulging on your neck like a grotesque goiter.)
  • Tie-downs for mobile homes. (Tornadoes are no match for a few well-cured fruitcakes.)
  • Fill for sinkholes. (Take note, Santee!)
  • Bulletproof vests for law enforcement officers.
  • Material to control soil erosion on riverbanks and other areas.
  • Dog chew toys to promote healthy gums. (On second thought, pooches would break all their teeth trying to eat one.)
  • Bookends.
  • Meat tenderizers. (You can pound a tough piece of steak to tender perfection with a fruitcake.)
  • For piling into the trunks of cars and backs of lightweight pickups to provide traction on icy roads.
  • A new Olympic competition called “fruitcake tossing.”
  • Designer cat litter – able to absorb cat urine instantly, leaving behind a fresh, fruity aroma.
  • Cat scratching posts.
  • For placing under old junk cars in your yard, instead of cinder blocks."

Seriously, though, fruitcake is good stuff! So, go get yourself some from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Springfield School this Saturday.

Contact the writer: cbarker@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5525.

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