Does anybody make plum pudding anymore? I have such fond memories of it from childhood Christmas’s. I remember being quite upset when I first helped my mom make it and discovered that there were no plums in it at all. After that I made sure to educate the rest of the family with that fact and insisted we call it Christmas Pudding instead. As usual no one paid any attention, and I’ve heard it called Suet Pudding and Carrot Pudding, as well as That Awful Fruit Thing We Had To Eat Every Christmas.
Raisins, currants, grated carrot and potato, crumbly white suet – those were probably the key ingredients. I got to grate things and toss stuff in flour. And grease the big soup cans Mom saved for just this purpose. The puddings had to be sealed up tight and put into a steamer for hours and hours, and finished up in the oven. Then they were cooled and stored away somewhere (forever it seemed to me) to finally be brought out and steamed again before serving. She made a rich brown sugar and butter sauce, and poured it generously over thick sliced rounds of steaming hot plum pudding. Delicious. I’m sure I made a complete pig of myself whenever we had it. It was just as yummy snitching a cold hunk of it out of the fridge later if there was any left over.
W’s family doesn’t have this tradition and he doesn’t like eating plum pudding. There is something seriously wrong with him. Well, several things, really, but that’s definitely one of them. His mother makes Christmas cake soaked in rum. It’s just not the same and I’m sorry I can’t make as big a flaming fuss over it as he does.
I tried to introduce my children to the joys of Christmas Pudding but they didn’t get it either. Perhaps if I’d poured brandy over it and set it on fire they would have been more impressed. They did like the sauce quite a lot though, so they’re not complete write-offs. The whole preparation process seemed like too much bother if I was going to be the only one to eat it, so I gave it up.
In her later years my mom didn’t make it much either, but one Christmas her youngest sister made several containers of it and gave her one. She must have mentioned how much I always loved it, because they sent one up to me too! I found a pot big enough to work as a steamer, made my own concoction that passed for brown sugar sauce (laced with quite a lot of rum to entice W but it didn’t work) and ate plum pudding to my hearts content. To the point of heart-burn probably. It’s pretty rich stuff and too much of it could probably kill you. But I’ve conveniently forgotten that part and just remember telling my aunt it was one of the best nostalgia inducing gifts I’d ever received.
Seems a little odd that the 12th of February would be set aside for the celebration of Plum Pudding, unless this is the day that some people start making it for ten months down the road. Mom always said the longer you stored it the better it got. I should get the exact recipe from my sister, if she still has it. Surely somebody in the family has been smart enough to keep it somewhere safe.
For some future Christmas I could spring the whole Christmas Pudding in sauce concept on the grandkids and see what happens. Maybe call it Grandma’s Incredible Best Ever Sugar Plum Pudding and start a whole new tradition. And if they don’t like it, oh well. All the more for me.