Friday, January 1, 2016

Worth its weight in gold.

To look up and not down,
To look forward and not back,
To look out and not in, and
To lend a hand.
                     Edward Everett Hale  

Happy New Year everyone. Thank you for always being who you are. I would like to share a published story and hopefully a smile this very first day of 2016. May this year be full of happiness, wonder and a compassion for one another.   

                          Worth its weight in gold

My Grandma used to say “It’s worth its weight in gold” all the time. Many reasons and occasions brought out that little gem.

 I remember hearing her commenting on the price of sugar, one day. “It’s worth its weight in gold” she exclaimed as she set it on the table. It was set beside the “Worth its weight in gold” real butter. That was back in the sixties and we were making shortbread cookies for Christmas. We would get to mixing and measuring, careful to not spill one little crystal of that precious commodity. A Christmas tradition never to be ignored.

There is another Christmas tradition that appears to draw a fascination, mixed with a love or hate: and that is fruitcake. Everyone has heard of it, or read about it. It has been gifted, or re-gifted. According to legend, at one time a fruitcake was given as a gag gift. Over and over again, it was wrapped, unwrapped and rewrapped until finally thrown out, once it was deemed no longer funny.  Apparently, it is the most dreaded of Christmas gifts by far. I read somewhere that a sixty year old fruitcake was found in England. It was still wrapped in waxed brown paper, buried in a bomb shelter.

I am sure that those who love it will always love it. I am also sure that those who hate it, will never be convinced of its worth. Generations of fruitcake bakers, have dumped and soaked it in so much alcohol that I am sure after a few pieces you would feel very festive indeed. Brandy was what my Great Grandma used. “Worth its weight in gold” she would say.
Oh yes it was, and this seems to be very true this year as well, even without the brandy. I know this only because My Hero loves fruitcake, and I like to see him smile.

Ontario Canada happens to have one of the highest priced electricity rates of any province. We are lucky though, because, there are “Time of use” discounts. “Off peak” times, where the price is decreased per kilowatt hour used, so I guess that can be considered lucky. After all, everyone I know living here loves doing their laundry, vacuuming and cooking in the middle of the night or on weekends. 
Honestly, who does not want to do that? Did you know fruitcake takes two and a half hours to bake? Electricity in Ontario seems to be “Worth its weight in gold”.

Now that I have established the “Worth its weight in gold” scenario about my own fruitcake, I will continue on.

Pulling the bag of walnuts off the shelf at the big box store the twenty dollar price tag intimidated me, but I pushed on. My Hero wanted that fruit cake and I was going to do it no matter how much it was going to cost him. Thinking of the sugar and the real butter that my Grandma had needed for those shortbread cookies, I placed it in the cart beside the ten dollar bag of raisins -- I cannot even remember the price of mixed candied fruit.

By that time, I had completely stopped looking and was only on a mission, turning a blind eye to the prices. Denial was to be my friend that day. Mixed with a bit of dread, and wonder about why I was really doing this, I finally had all the ingredients I needed. Now I just had to wait for the weekend because the thought of staying up all night and baking for cheap rates seemed silly.

My Grandma could not afford the sugar and that real butter back then either. Times were tough, but it was Christmas and expectations were high, and after all it was tradition. They were Grandpa’s favourite. Yes I had to do this. The look on My Hero’s face would be much like I remember my Grandpa’s, when he bit into that cookie, “Worth its weight in gold”.

As I stirred in all those ingredients, on Sunday morning (off peak), I looked at the “Worth their weight in gold” ingredients and wondered if it was going to be worth it. Doubts started to bubble up inside me. What if I burned it? What if I undercooked it? What if it did not have enough fruit? All these questions ran through my head.

I patiently waited those two and a half hours, then I pulled those “Worth their weight in gold” little bundles of tradition out of the oven. They looked perfect. I looked at the recipe again just in case I had missed something.

‘Allow to ripen for several weeks for best flavour.’

It looks like we will not really know if they are worth anything, till at least February. My Hero is outside welding (off peak) a new farm gate to keep the cows in. He is definitely “Worth his weight in gold”.

By the way, if any of my relatives are expecting to be gifted one of these little gems, don’t. Remember, the “Most dreaded gift” thing. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they cost a tractor bucket full of loonies to make.

  (Published December 31, 2015) in The Napanee Guide


  1. Hello, wonderful story. I wish you all the best in 2016! A very Happy, healthy New Year to you and your family!

  2. Happy New Year dear Button... A great story today.
    I love your grandma's expression about " It's worth it's weight in gold"...... and I'm a fruit cake lover too, especially the light colored ones.
    I usually always make one for Christmas, not to give away but to eat at our table, but this year I was under the weather and didn't make any and I was considering making one after Christmas but it didn't happened.

    I hope your Hero will love and appreciate the fruitcake you so lovingly made for him.

    Wishing you God's Choicest Blessings for 2016. Thanks for all the sweet comments you gifted to me throughout the year.

  3. I made 30 fruit cakes this year. Alcohol soaked fruitcake. I hope, trust and believe that they are not the most dreaded gift. Not only do their ingredients cost several body parts there is love in every turn of the spoon.
    A very, very happy and hopeful New Year to you and yours.

  4. I love a good dark moist fruit cake. My mom used to make them and she made one in layers for my wedding cake. Because yours was made with love it will be extraordinary. Happy New Year.

  5. Great story - and I have never tasted fruit cake. The love in your fruitcake is worth its weight in gold! Happy 2016 there at the farm.

  6. Are those muck boots? They're worth their weight in gold also! Happy New Year to you and yours, Grace. It's been wonderful getting to know you thru blog land. Now. What about that recipe? I adore a well made fruit cake, even cookies.

  7. Happy New Year, blog friend. Great story about your fruitcake. If I can't eat my cake right out of the oven, I just can't wait. But for a taste of your fruitcake, I would give it a try. Hugs, Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  8. Girl! You can buy a little fruitcake at the store this time of year for $4.99!!!! Then you'd have enough money left over to make shortbread cookies!!!!

    Cindy Bee

  9. I'm one of those who loves fruitcake. I guess my Mom made fruitcakes when times were tough...40's and 50's. Mom just made the best fruitcakes ever.

  10. Hubby's mom made a no bake fruit cake that was delicious and I don't care for fruit cakes. That is the only kind we ever make and haven't made it in years. It is also expensive but you can't burn this one!

    You cake looks great.

  11. I bet the fruitcake tastes delicious! Thanks for sharing this story, Grace. Happy New Year and all the best in 2016.

  12. Your cakes look absolutely fabulous. I like fruit cake, but mine never seemed to turn out well. I must try again one day, in winter when the oven can warm up the kitchen.
    I'm in a high priced electricity area too, much, much higher than the rest of the country. If my family weren't all here, I'd move to a cheaper state.
    my old mum in law (she's 90) always used to say 'worth its weight in cocky feathers'
    Cocky meaning cockatoo, one of our Australian birds.

  13. P.S. Happy New Year
    would love the recipe for the cake, please?

  14. I love Christmas cake! this year we made it , my sister and I just the week before mom passed. We had great fun talking to her about how to and what the tips and tricks were. And we celebrated her when we enjoyed it together. Worth its weight in gold, in more ways than one!

  15. It sure looks like it is worth its weight in gold.

  16. They look delicious.
    Happy New Year...hugs M xox

  17. Love it! The story, not quite so much the fruitcake ;-).

  18. Wonderful story...I use that saying about something being worth its weight in gold. I also use the phrase it will cause you an arm and a leg, or sometimes both your arms and both your legs.

  19. Wow, I can't imagine staying up in the night to do chores, but I'm sure I would do it to save money. You know what? I have never, ever, tasted fruitcake. Yours looks delicious! Happy New Year!

  20. We made two batches of very expensive fruitcake (a light and a dark). They are tucked back in the refrigerator taking precious space ( we have a SMALL side by side). No one wants to eat it :(

  21. OMG, your fruitcake looks amazing! I love that stuff, I know a lot of peeps don't, it's kinda like getting a poinsettia ....LOL! Happy 2016! :)

  22. Love your story . . .
    Your fruitcake looks delightful! Happy you spent "some pennies" and baked it up special for "Mister Buttons!"
    Brings back memories of my momma making fruitcakes each year, for friends . . .
    I wonder if they were " running for the hills" . . .
    One more of "Momma Leone's" fruitcakes to hide in the cellar . . .
    Oh my, I wonder!
    Happy New Year Grace!

  23. Love this story. Your cakes look very yummy indeed... and I'm not a really much of a fruitcake fan.

  24. A great story buttons, I remember so many phrases like that from my childhood!! I don't love fruitcake, perhaps because I have never had a good one. Yours looks yummy!!!

  25. All the best told stories are right here. Happy New Year!

  26. My Grandmother used to say, "Well honestly! Whatever." and move on. She said it, and we all knew what it meant. It was meant to say what was up for discussion didn't really matter, and we should all just move along and be happy. It worked too. Grandma kept the peace in her home many times with this simple phrase.

  27. Great writing. I enjoyed it...:)

  28. I happen to love fruitcake...Brandy was my mothers liquor of choice....she made them in late October and by Christmas they were deep dark cake with splashes of color from green and red cherries. They were moist and so rich a small square was heaven. I have her recipe but have yet to make one that had the flavour of those childhood Christmas treats. I look forward to February....they do look beautiful but as my mother said...."The Proof is in the pudding"!

  29. I have never had fruitcake, but it looks yummy. I agree that doing things for others is worth it's weight in gold. I'm trying to think of any saying my grandmother used, but can only think of naughty. She was a 4th grade teacher and when I was going to school to be a teacher, she told me to never say a student was bad. Only that they were naughty. Bad has a connotation about a person's character, while naughty is an action. I teach students that have quit school or were kicked out and have always followed my grandmothers advice. Their actions are naughty. It has always held to be a very good thing to say.


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