Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I've been a bit remiss the last few years because I haven't carried on the sacred fruitcake making tradition that I've done for many years. Didn't last year and during my very religious days I altered my family's over two hundred years old recipe by not adding one essential ingredient -  Brandy!

This year there was lots of brandy added, even if I am a bit late starting my fruitcakes. Three or four years ago I was going to go back to marinating the fruitcakes in brandy, bought a big bottle of the same French brandy my great aunt, the previous family fruitcake maker, always used. But it never made it into the cakes or on them. My son, back in that lost year between his moving out of the dorms and taking the three credits he needed to graduate from college, seized upon that bottle with the picture of Napoleon on it, and drank it.

During that year it was obvious that Andy was in a grudge match against his liver, because he was dipping into the family liquor cabinet a little too freely. He even drank some rum that was older than him that I only used a little of for rum balls whenever the mood took me to make them. He drank an old bottle of Midori, all the Amaretto I use for my Cranberry Amaretto pound cake, his father's expensive but rarely touched Bourbon and that cheap coconut lime rum I like to imbibe on the rare hot summer day.

The inhaling ass-whooping hoovering up he used to do to the contents of the refrigerator he switched to the booze, old as most of it was.

Now he's living on his own and treating his liver more kindly now that he has to actually pay for his own alcohol.

Mixing the fruit and nuts with brandy

We're getting ready for Thanksgiving at Margaret's house, or as we love to call it 'Feed a Jew Ham Day' since we're part Jewish and Margaret's in-laws are very Jewish. This year I'm bringing the ham and Margaret is cooking boudin and turducken. I'm bringing the alcohol laden desserts too. Fruitcake and Cranberry Amaretto cake. The others are bring pies, challah and sides.

We're all hoping Andy brings his girlfriend as we'd all quite curious. They've been dating well over a year now and I've only caught a few glimpses of her. She seems sweet but very shy. His younger sister doesn't like the gf because she says the gf bosses him around. But she doesn't seem to get that Andy is just one of those guys that seems to do better when someone else keeps him on track. I have no problem with that.

With a little bit of the fruitcake brandy in me I've been opening up to Laura about my own horrible dating history from before I met her dad. Cautionary tales of the suckiness of dating.

Like the time I dated the NFL player for exactly two dates. Date one was to a nearby Mexican restaurant where we sat around in the South Louisiana heat eating chips and salsa and drinking the best frozen margaritas and talking. Date two was him picking me up in his car, I had naturally assumed that we were going out to eat or something like that. Oh no! He drove straight to the nearest Motel 6 and informed me that we were going to have sex. I got out and called a cab because there was no way I was going to screw this guy I barely knew, even if he was an NFL player. Later I discovered he was also seeing a girl I worked with. We started talking about him, comparing notes, realizing we'd both been played. Turned out he was married with kids and living with another woman. Dodged a bullet on that one. When he was transferred to the Atlanta Falcons we were glad to see him go. I got a best friend out of the deal, who ended up being my maid of honor at my wedding four years later. He got cut from the Falcons later that year and never played in the NFL again. I still gripe about him every single time I hear the words 'Atlanta Falcons'

Or the guy I met at work that took me on a casual date one Saturday afternoon to the Salvation Army store on Airline Hwy before taking me to McDonalds and magnanimously offering to buy me anything I wanted off the dollar menu. That was a first and last date, not because he was a cheapskate, mostly because he was just too weird on the date. Jim and I did the Salvation Army and garage sale things after we'd been together for awhile, shopping, not really a date. Guys out there, taking a girl to a thrift shop and offering her a meal off the dollar menu does not make a good impression on a first day.

But I think the worse of the worse date wasn't even really the man's fault. The UPS man had been shyly flirting with me for about six months when I was working during my college years before he finally asked me out. He seemed like a sweet guy, very nice, very respectful and rather attractive. We made a date and he took me out to a very nice restaurant. We were having wine and had just ordered dinner when his ex wife ran in the restaurant drunk out of her mind and yelling, screaming and cursing. She had all three of their children with her and they were all crying. I felt sorry for the poor kids because it wasn't early, they should have been in bed. They were also dirty and unkempt looking. The long story cut short is that they had been divorced two years and she kept showing up whenever he tried to have a relationship with anyone else and caused a scene. We took his kids to McDonalds that night before we went to his house. I sat there and talked to him quite a while after he put the kids to bed. He wanted to go out again, try again, and I had to sadly tell him that I was not prepared to have that type of drama in my life even though I thought he was a great guy. I didn't want to have to deal with his ex all the time.

I kissed a lot of icky frogs before I found Jim. I'm just happy that both Andy and Laura have stable relationships without any of that ridiculous bizarreness I experienced when I was their age or that their dad experienced. Jim has told me some crazy tales of some of his dating disasters before we met. Sometimes I think finding love and falling in love without there being insane drama is a miracle in and of itself.

Wow, I wandered a long way from talking about fruitcake. Too much brandy.

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