Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Things immortal
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Sep 4, 2017
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There is not a human being who can match the survival of the cockroach. Occasionally, you will read of men or women who top a hundred years or so, but death finally claims them. There are, however, three foods our species leave behind that refuse to die. They will occupy this earth as long as the cockroach.

A pot of split pea soup not only survived two moves, three power outages, a blizzard, a hundred-year flood, three teenagers, and an exorcist, it multiplied. My first experience with split pea soup was a gift from my mother. She made a quart of it one day, and after she and my dad had eaten from it for three months, she asked, “Why don’t you take some of it home with you?”

Ordinarily, I do not eat anything that turns green when you cook it and takes off your lipstick when you eat it, but I felt sorry for her. She seemed so desperate. I refrigerated the leftover. The split pea soup wouldn’t live and it wouldn’t die. I eventually buried it in the backyard, where the grass died and the area turned into a green, soggy mud patch.

Another food that will outlast civilization is the hard roll. These are nondescript rolls that turn to rock two hours after you buy them. If you bite into one, it will heal itself.

I wanted to believe that when a hard roll became stale enough, it was pitched out. This proved not to be true. On a tour through Europe, every morning we were served a continental breakfast. It didn’t matter if we were airborne or in a hotel, we got the continental breakfast. It consisted of a glass of juice, a hard roll, a small plastic packet of jelly, and a beverage of our choice.

I personally felt the hard rolls were making me mean. I had mood swings and some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. I also suspected they were serving us the same roll in every city we visited, so one morning in Munich I etched Lanny’s initials in one. Sure enough, on the last night of the tour in Paris, we were dining near the Eiffel Tower when a waiter put a roll beside Lanny’s plate. The initials LJB stood out like a neon sign. For all I know, it’s still circling the globe.

But the ultimate in longevity is the Christmas fruitcake. It is a cake made during the holidays with fruits that make it heavier than the stove it is cooked in. There is something “different” about people who like fruitcake. They never eat it themselves, but they’re absolutely evangelistic about everyone else eating them.

My theory is shared by many. There are only four or five fruitcakes making the rounds like a chain letter. If you don’t give away your fruitcake before the year is up, something terrible will happen to you.

Any day I expect to see Martha Stewart come out with an entire issue of her magazine devoted to “Beyond Fruitcake.” Fruitcake swimming pools, patios and walls, highways, high-rise buildings, automobile tires, and jewelry. I have seen enough Roman ruins to know that even their genius at building cities eventually crumbled and faded.

This will not happen with the fruitcake.