Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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December 12, 2013

Stroll Around Newfane

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I have a question for you on this chilly winter day. How many old coats, sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves are taking up space in your closets? Haul them out and give them away to someone in need of warmth. While everyone is so worried about buying the perfect gifts this season, we all have a houseful of things someone less fortunate would be blessed to have. What do you have to give to someone in need? Make this a Christmas season of sharing.

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Talk show host Johnny Carson once said, “The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” The earliest known recipe is from the ancient Romans. It lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins, mixed in a barley mash. Later honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added. Claxton, Ga., is considered the “fruitcake capital of the world.” A fruitcake tossing contest and fruitcake beauty contest are held every January in Manitou Springs, Colo., where they also make little cars out of them for racing. The oldest known fruitcake is more than 130 years old, baked in November, 1878 by a woman in Michigan who died before she was able to serve it to her family. It is kept in a glass dome as a tribute to her memory. Legends claim that ancient Egyptians placed a fruitcake like cake on the tombs of loved ones as food for the afterlife. In 1913 in America, the tradition of mail-ordering fruitcakes began. In 1935, the term “nutty as a fruitcake” was coined when well known American bakeries with access to cheaper nuts began including larger amounts of nuts in their fruitcakes.

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While you are taking in the holiday lights, and would like a special holiday evening treat, take a ride to Olcott and check out the Christmas light display in the gazebo area on Main Street. It’s really something.

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