If somebody gives you a fruitcake for Christmas, do you use it as a doorstop or save it until next year and re-gift it to someone you don't like? Ever heard the ingredients compared to the population of California? Such are the usual jokes involving the dreaded, fruit-and-nut-studded holiday dessert. Fruitcake is a national laughingstock.
So I was a little confused, years ago, when I first encountered food lovers who preached the gospel of Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana. I politely changed the subject whenever it came up. Then, one fateful year, I was stuck at a holiday party hosted by a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake evangelist who held me down and force-fed me some deluxe Texas fruitcake. I was compelled to admit that the stuff is pretty good. Okay -- it's very good.
As I passed through Corsicana in subsequent years, I actually considered stopping at the bakery to check it out. One year, I actually made it to downtown Corsicana -- only to find the bakery was closed. But this year, on the way home from the Big 12 Championship game, I noticed that Collin Street Bakery had built a new outlet conveniently located next to I-45.
As it happened, my gas gauge reached absolute zero as I was approaching that Corsicana exit, and I had to pull off anyway. The lunch buffet and freshly made sandwiches lured me in. One patron was chiding Gloria, the cook, for not making any cold water cornbread that day. Gloria stuck a free sample of her taco soup in my hand. It tasted like Frito Pie, so I got a bowl and sat down.
There was a display of Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes with free samples right next to my table. After eating several, I broke down and bought some fruitcakes. The Texas Blonde Pecan Cake looked awesome.
When you're a food critic, there's a nice sense of irony about giving fruitcake as a gift.