Monday, December 29, 2008

The Curious Case of the PCP*

Replete, we sat in the semi-comatose state that all adults reach by mid afternoon of Family Christmas.

I noticed that nobody was eating.

"We have Christmas pudding if anyone feels like some," I offered innocently.

"Christmas pudding?" said Pete with curiosity.

It had lurked in the dark recesses of my pantry for a number of years. The exact number is rather inconsequential. "Years" is the word to note.

We don't really like Christmas pudding but I feel the need to have one on hand; a token pudding, just in case someone asks, "Is there any?" If they did, it would seem a terrible thing not to have some.

In the early years of our marriage; the early 1970's (which I think of as my "earth woman" phase, and during which I also baked bread) I made our Christmas puddings from an English recipe that involved an annual search for suet. I steamed the puddings in cheesecloth and also hid coins in them, upholding the tradition of Paul's childhood. When we first came to Canada we heard of something called "Carrot Pudding." That just did not sound right to me, and none has ever knowingly passed my lips. I should probably try some though, having dismissed it so quickly 40 years ago.

I caught on after a few years that all this effort was not worth it; for after a hefty turkey dinner, and an obligatory few bites of the brandy laced pudding, which Paul really only enjoyed as a side dish to vast quantities of the accompanying white sauce, I ended up freezing the leftover pudding and later throwing it away.

So we graduated to Crosse and Blackwell canned Christmas puddings, imported from England, which could be popped into the microwave and restored to steaming splendour in minutes. Most of it still did not get eaten, but at least there was no effort to preparing it, and sometimes the can did not even get opened.

One year I couldn't find a Crosse and Blackwell pudding, and since we weren't exactly going to eat it anyway, I grabbed another boxed pudding that looked similar.

It didn't get opened the year I bought it so I put it away in the cupboard, thinking that a canned pudding would keep.

This particular pudding made it's annual appearance for a year or two ; perhaps a few years. No one has shown the slightest interest in eating it. But this year Pete and Sue were interested in studying it, as if it was some sort of scientific specimen.

We opened the box, and to my surprise; I honestly don't remember knowing this; it was not canned, but in stored in a plastic, pudding shaped bowl and sealed with clear plastic over the top.

The pudding was, let me tell you, far from moist in appearance anymore.

Sue studied the *Petrified Christmas Pudding closely; through the plastic film at first, and asked, giggling, "What's that white thing?"

Well, whatever it was it wasn't moving. It was, like the pudding, petrified.

Peter took to studying the box. "Mom," he laughed, "You have to wonder about any product, when the 'May Contain' list, is longer than the list of ingredients."

The pudding bore no resemblance to the delectable slice in the picture on the box. It could only serve as a good hockey puck.

The pudding went into the organic waste green bin under our sink, although I was not 100% sure that it belonged there.

If there is a moral to this tale, it probably is...

I give up; I don't know what the moral is or I probably wouldn't have had the thing in the first place.

12 comments:

Night Owl said...

hehehehehehehe :) :) :)
Oh, that was a wonderful story Belinda! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

Blessed With 4 said...

Hee, hee, hee...too funny.

Susan said...

Had you ever tasted one of Grandma Charlotte's steamed carrot puddings (full of suet, too!) slathered with copious amounts of her homemade lemon sauce, you wouldn't feel the way you do about that particular Christmas delicacy!

Brenda said...

Belinda, we ARE twins!!! Last Christmas I searched high and low for my Grandma Charlotte's recipe so I could make it for my dad for Christmas. He adores it. The recipe was nowhere to be found in the house. I must have ditched it because personally I hate the stuff. So I did much searching on the internet and found one which I thought came close to her recipe and then went off in search of suet. Suet is a hard thing to find. I must have gone to four grocery stores before I finally found it in the frozen food section at Loblaws. I actually bought cheeseloth and steamed it...not really knowing how to do it. The sauce was not quite like Grandma's but my dad was very pleased with the outcome and even ate some for breakfast! So thanks for sharing your delightful story. It brought back many fond memories of Christmases past.

Belinda said...

It was fun to share the tale of the pudding, even if it means that our guests may look very closely at anything I serve them from now on! :)

Belinda said...

And what IS suet really? I have a feeling that I may not want to know. Perhaps there is a reason it's hard to find. :)

Susan said...

Suet is the hard fat found around the kidneys. Besides going into Christmas puddings, it can be rendered into tallow, used to make candles!

Christmas pudding or candles. That's what the stuff is for! :)

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Belinda said...

Oh, now, Susan, that does it! I think you just may have unmasked The Truth About Christmas Puddings! :)

Laura Davis said...

HA! We seem to have the same problem every year ourselves. I must admit, I only buy it because the kind I buy comes wrapped in pretty red paper and looks nice on my table! (unopened of course - if we opened it, we'd actually have to eat it and I don't think we've done that yet!

Night Owl said...

Oh goodness, I'm soooooooo glad I've never tried Christmas pudding... There is NO WAY anyone will ever be able to convince me to eat something with suet in it...

Belinda said...

Hey friends, do you think there might be a market for perpetual Christmas pudding decorations? Ours almost made that elevated status. It would have to be wrapped in red pretty paper like Laura's but brought out every year with the other decorations, never to be eaten, but duly admired for the sake of tradition; a relic of a bygone era; fondly revered like an elderly aunt.