Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Crofty's Christmas Pudding Post

Apparently it's Stir Up Sunday this weekend. This is the Sunday, I'm told, when the family gathers after church to make the family Christmas Pudding ready for December 25th's celebrations.

Forgive me if I sound like all this is news to me. It's only in the last few years, when we've been going to an Anglican church - the state recognised Church of England - that this age old tradition has become apparent. It seems it has a biblical heritage  from a text that reads 'Stir up, Stir up thy people Oh Lord...' or words to that effect.

We were brought up in the more austere Methodist Christian tradition which was a bit sniffy about the fancier imagery and glitz of the liturgical church. You know, the sinful stuff like candles and stained glass windows.

And that stripped down religion, sort of suited the post-cotton mill town of the Seventies. There was neither money nor time for much real home cooking, nor for that matter traditions, the mill workers' culture did away with al ot of that.

Instead mill owners created a network of Working Mens' Clubs for the amusement of the masses; and then in my Gran's case came Mecca Bingo - a blasphemous reference to a holy place for some of Oldham's Muslim residents, but a place of escapism and pilgrimage of a sort, to my Gran and her peers.

But back to Christmas pudding. In our house any recipe that required more than three of four ingredients - like meat, tinned peas and potatoes - was out. The sheer inefficiency of a recipe that required at least ten ingredients and, according to the Stir Up Sunday tradition, four people to stir it, meant it was a non-starter.

No, what could be better than something from the new fangled supermarket that came in its own plastic pudding basin and needed little more than reheating on Christmas Day - and of course the addition of custard (the real stuff made with Birds Custard Powder).

So on Stir Up Sunday I will fulfill my cultural heritage and find something far better to do than spend a whole afternoon combining ten quid's worth of dried fruit and other fancy stuff, followed by eight hours cooking if my research is correct.

Incidentally, when it does come to purchasing our family Christmas Pudding I won't be going to Marks and Spencer nor Waitrose. I find the luxury puddings to have far too little pudding. Being brought up on cheaper food means that pudding for me is the cakey bit so I can't stomach the over-fruity rich versions.

No, my favourite pudding year on year comes from Aldi. And I will still stick to my guns when it comes to the topping of choice. On Christmas Day, if I only have one culinary task (unlikely, I accept) it will be to to make sure no Brandy Butter or Rum Sauce makes it to the Croft table. I will take charge of the proper custard made with Birds Custard powder, about a gallon of the stuff.

Posted via email from stevencroft's posterous

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