I must thank Dr. Alice for leading me to the Comics Curmudgeon. I don't know many of the comics spoofed there, except for "For Better or for Worse", but that one deserves everything they throw at it. Now I'm sorry I stopped reading it for about 10 years; I've missed out on a lot of saccharine storylines that are still being satirized.
However, in yesterday's edition, a "B.C." cartoon led to an extensive discussion of fruitcake. People say that the jokes about fruitcake refer exclusively to boughten fruitcake, not homemade. Not true. My mother made fruitcake every year, and it was every bit as indestructible as the stuff you can buy at the drugstore every Christmas. It would keep forever, wrapped in foil and stored inside a plastic container. I remember seeing the same fruitcake still in the fridge in the middle of August.
In fact, we had elaborate fruitcake rituals in our house. There was a very special tea we liked from Murchie's, the Vancouver tea merchant - it was called Orange Spice. It was scented with orange peel and cloves - very nice. Well, my mom established a rule that every time we drank Orange Spice tea, we HAD to have a piece of fruitcake with it. She maintained that they went together beautifully, but maybe it was just a way of getting us to eat up the fruitcake before it was time to make a new one.
There was another rule; no one was allowed to put MILK in Orange Spice tea. Sugar, yes, but milk was forbidden, because it masked the full flavour of the tea. It's funny how when you're young, you just accept that the way your parents do things is the way things have to be. It wasn't until I moved away from home that I realized that I could drink Orange Spice tea without fruitcake, because actually, I don't really like fruitcake that much. But I'd faithfully eaten it all those years at home, in order to get the tea.