Thursday, September 27, 2007

Christmas Pudding: Getting Started

Mom wants to make a new batch of Christmas pudding this fall.

The last time we made pudding was the summer of 1998, I think. We gathered at the Jameson house in Seattle to learn the fine art of preparing the suet laden recipe with Bama at the helm, teaching one and all about this delectable (to some) holiday essential. The pudding from that last preparation has lasted until now and tradition has it that we must incorporate what remains of the old into the new. It is amazing to ponder all the bits of pudding from past years that live on. This batch will surely carry us well into the next decade and because it will likely be the last time Mom supervises the creation of Christmas pudding, this one will be special beyond the usual.

Yesterday, recipe in hand, Mom and I made the first dent in the process by ordering the two cups of suet at QFC and purchasing the raisins, currants, walnuts, and candied citron. The butcher was ultimately accommodating, but a bit suspicious of our request for a pound of beef fat and initially said, "we don't do that". When my 90 year old mother looked at him and allowed as how in past years a woman butcher at the same QFC was happy to provide two cups of suet for her Christmas pudding I could feel his resistance melting away. "Ok," he said, "I will fix it for you; come back tomorrow morning at 10 to pick it up." And today, I picked up the suet which resembles very lean cooked turkey breast if you just look at it quickly. But it feels like fat to the touch. We will have to push this suet through Mom's old metal meat grinder as I didn't have the courage to ask the butcher who had already packaged the fat in saran wrap to undo his work and run it through the industrial grinder. Not surprisingly, fat is free for the asking. No charge; just get out of the store with it and don't tell the manager.

I'm not sure when we'll tackle part two which is the assembly and six hour steaming of the pudding. Hopefully there will be a date in October when as many family as can or want to participate will be able to stop by to stir the pudding in the kitchen at Arapahoe. It is said that good luck comes to all who stir the Christmas pudding before it goes into its steam bath. And so, we shall prepare, stir and steam the 2007 vintage pudding soon. Then, we will enjoy the finished product in December 2007 when we gather again as a family to celebrate the season and the fact that we are indelibly linked one to another. Here's to tradition and holidays shared together!


  1. Wow! You've begun the process. I am with you in spirit. So Mom brought the butcher into line. Good for her.

  2. Count me in!!!! Would love to be a part of this again!

  3. Let me know when in October and I will try my best to come...i wasn't a part of the last one and would love to be a part of this one. This will truly be a once in a life-time experience!


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