Not a Fruitcake! (Angel in the Kitchen)


Concerning fruitcakes,
apparently more people enjoy baking them than eating them. Why else do fruitcakes constantly show up beneath the Christmas tree or in a game of White Elephant? Because at least one cook in every family bakes several each year with the good intentions of distributing them as gifts. In fact, fruitcakes are to Christmas what toasters are to weddings.

So, as we sip eggnog with friends and family by the fireside, someone will inevitably pass us a suspicious looking loaf-shaped parcel tied up with a bow. With a little trepidation, we slowly unwrap our gift. Is it another necktie? Socks? A high-def TV? No, it’s a dense hunk of nuts and gummy fruits barely held together by a pinch of flour and a hasty prayer! Ho Ho Ho-oooh!

Oh, thanks! But you shouldn’t have. NO, seriously, you shouldn’t have!

And now it begins: the annual fruitcake shuffle! We pass it off to you, you pawn it off on your boss, your boss re-gifts it to his sister, she takes it to her pastor, he delivers it to a board member who’s been a pain in his neck, the pain-in-the-neck gives it to his neighbor who babysits for him when she’s actually got better things to do — and who deserves something much nicer for the time she’s spent — and she … uh, just happens to know us!

This poor, overtaxed servant brings it right back to us: “Hi, I couldn’t get out and do any shopping — ‘cuz I’ve been babysitting a lot of nights — but look, I brought you guys a fruitcake!!”

“Oh, yummy!” we cry in unison, giving her a hug. “You really really shouldn’t have!!”

Once our guest departs, one of us asks, “Sweetie, isn’t this the same fruitcake we got rid of a few days ago?”

“Could be,” the reply comes. “Then again, you never know: after all, all fruitcakes look alike to me.”

“I hope it’s not the same one we gave away last year! Ya know, some of these things would benefit from carbon-dating. So what should we do?”

“Don’t we still need to give your brother a gift?”

For a long awkward moment we stare at each other in silence. How could we stoop so low? We should be ashamed of ourselves! We should be….

“Yeah, why not!”

Before we continue with this confessional, we’d like to ask a nagging question: Does anyone ever buy a fruitcake? Probably not. Because everyone knows that someone somewhere has one they’re trying to give away! Actually, legend has it that there are only a finite number of fruitcakes still in existence, all of them baked centuries ago by trolls living under a bridge. These dried out blocks of fruit and nuts just stay in circulation … making the rounds … the quintessential objects of re-gifting … forever … and ever … Hallelujah … Hallelujah! *Sigh!*

Whenever they could break into someone’s kitchen, velociraptors were notorious for baking deadly, prehistoric fruit cakes!

There’s a scientific theory that should anyone — let’s say, someone who’s delirious from hunger — ever actually eat one, it would drastically decrease the surplus population of fruitcakes, ushering in the end of civilization as we know it! But not to worry, Christmas is just around the corner! And fruitcakes are the gift that keeps on giving! Year after year after year!

There’s another gift that keeps on giving — but not because anyone re-gifts it. In fact, no one who’s ever received this gift has ever wanted to part with it — it’s that precious! No one can make it, and no one can buy it. It can’t be earned and it can’t be given away. It’s the free gift of eternal life, bestowed by our Heavenly Father, through His Son Jesus Christ! “The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 GOD’S WORD)

Christmas commemorates the day Jesus Christ came to earth in human-form; the birth of our Savior in a Bethlehem manger over 2000 years ago. It’s a time of giving gifts, because the arrival of Christ on earth led to His giving the greatest gift mankind has ever known — or ever will! Christ gave His life for each of us. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)

Have you opened God’s gift yet? Trust us, that’s no fruitcake — or anything else you’d want to give away. Indeed, it’s a treasure that keeps on giving throughout eternity! “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV)

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this. It is a gift from God.” (Ephesians 2:8 NLT)


No Bundt at Christmas! (Angel in the Kitchen)


Christmastime is a perfect occasion for discussing molds. No, not the fuzzy green ones that grow on very old bread — but rather the kind used to shape stuff, such as jello.

We have several molds designed to shape different foods, and we have a lot of fun using them. We have a heart-shaped baking pan, and we’ve used it to bake a meatloaf that screams “LOVE”! We have molds for shaping mounds of rice and chicken salad, making a beautiful presentation when serving these dishes. We have ice cube trays that enable us to freeze punch in a variety of cute shapes. And we have a fish mold, too! So if our doctor ever tells us to cut out red meat and go on a seafood diet, we’ll just bake a meatloaf shaped like a fish.

In addition to all these cool molds, there’s also the universally familiar ring-shaped bundt baking pan. The bundt design mimics the form of a traditional European cake called Gugelhupf, which was popular with Jewish communities in Germany, Austria and Poland. The first bundt pans were marketed in the U.S. in the late 1950s. The pans quickly caught on, and today you can buy bundt pans in a variety of designs, including cathedrals and city skylines — because who doesn’t want to play Godzilla and devour a whole city made of cake?

It takes a village to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Interestingly, a Gugelhupf is baked from a specific, yeast-based recipe with fruit and nuts. You can’t say the same thing about a bundt cake. In fact, there are no recipes for bundt cake. So what exactly is a bundt cake? Simple: anything you bake in a bundt pan. It doesn’t matter if it’s lemon cake or angel-food; if it contains fruit, nuts, or a tunnel of fudge filling; whatever goes into a bundt pan is called a bundt cake. Which provides a perfect analogy for what we want to share.

Although Bundt cakes retain the flavors baked into them, they nevertheless lose part of their identity. Being molded by a bundt pan makes them bundt cakes. A chocolate cake becomes a bundt cake. Same for yellow cake, banana cake, or what have you. If cakes could talk they’d probably argue with the cook about being baked in a mold that leads to the loss of their individuality! (Can you guess where we’re going with this?)

People often end up like bundt cakes. They may start out as chocolate, vanilla, yellow or red velvet, but somewhere in life they allow the world to mold them into something generic.

This world is continually pressuring people to conform to a certain image and mindset. Peer pressure is constantly working to mold us; the need to “fit in” or the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” are just two examples of “social bundt pans.” And if you’re a follower of Christ, you face even more pressure to conform to secular society. Face it, “bundt people” want you to join their ranks.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) In other words, don’t allow this fallen, negative, lost and hopeless world to squeeze you into its mold. Instead, be different, maintain a higher standard, avoid the dog-eat-dog mentality of the rest of society. Be like Christ: never stoop to the low standards of people who are unforgiving and vindictive, unloving and often vicious. Take the high road instead; rise above your circumstances and whatever else the world throws at you; and live by faith!

Want to join the bundt crowd? No individuality!

Get God’s perspective on life by reading His Word. Trade in any  hopeless, faithless feelings you may have, for God’s faithful promises. Replace any negative, hateful, selfish, stinking thinking with the “mind of Christ” and “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

As we continue to enjoy Christmastime, we’ll probably encounter — amid other holiday goodies such as pecan fudge, gingerbread cookies and plum pudding — our fair share of bundt cakes. When you see one, let it be a silent reminder not to let the world squeeze you into its mold: don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, over decorating, and trying to impress people over the holidays. Christmas isn’t about competing with the neighbors or impressing the boss. Nor should it become an excuse to overindulge in food or sink deeper in dept at the department stores.

Break out of the mold! Christmas is a time for celebrating the gift of Jesus Christ to the world — with dear friends and family who take comfort in the simplest pleasures of life, the joy of the Lord and the fellowship of good company. And, uh, a cup of eggnogg or hot cider, of course!

Don’t be a bundt! Be better! Think different, and live victoriously! “With perfect peace You will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust You.” (Isaiah 26:3 GOD’S WORD)