It's also almost the only time all year I get out the cookbook from the church I grew up in. Where the recipes I contributed have "Miss" before my name. A book with typewriter print, a plastic spirall binding and now yellowing pages. The contributors were my Sunday School Teachers, my friends' mothers, ladies who sat in the pews in front of me in hats and gloves and Sunday-best clothing. A cross-section of early 1970s women making tuna pinwheels, hot dishes and perfect pies.
It causes me to pause and think Those women are all gone now. In fact, I am older than many of them were when they submitted their favorite recipes to that cookbook. My fruitcake is no mere recipe. The ritual of baking it each year is one of my links to the past. A flavorful, aromatic, nostalgic trip back to the kitchen and memories of my youth. As you bake this holiday season, look for your own special recipe. When you find it you'll know -- it's more than a fruitcake.