Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in warm water.
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and the sugar. Beat the eggs and mix in. Stir in molasses, chopped nuts, fruit cocktail, raisins and vanilla. Mix in spices, baking soda and salt. Sift the flour and stir in. Mix until well blended.
Drop by teaspoon on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.