Friday, January 13, 2012

The Return of the Plum Pudding

Editor's Note: Today's entry is a guest post by Watson who lives with Jennifer's parents in Michigan. The cats have agreed to this only on the condition that they did not have to personally associate with a dog.

Good day,

Watson here. I am a canine companion to Jennifer’s mother and father and share my lodgings with Sherlock, a rather eccentric and excitable fellow. Before I took up residence with Harry and Bethanie, I served Her Majesty in various uncomfortable and distant parts of the Empire such as Afghanistan and Flint. These days I get quite enough excitement listening to Sherlock bark at everything imaginable and some things which are unimaginable (such as phantoms and other superstitious nonsense). Sherlock is the perfect example of a canine of whom it can be said that, “his bark is worse than his bite.” I am very proud that such a thing can never be said of me. To give you a further idea of his personality, I've included the following photograph. Here, Sherlock is "investigating" the family's baking plans.


Jennifer recently came home for a holiday visit. As a physician, I was pleased to observe no deleterious effects from her recent association with feline companions. I was particularly pleased that we had a few days of her company before Jason joined us. When I first met Jason, several years ago, I expressed my opinion of his (lack of) suitability quite forcefully. I have since become resigned to his presence because Jennifer is fond of him and she is a somewhat headstrong Irish lass. She would not take it well if I were to detach any more pieces from Jason.

While Jennifer was staying with us, she and Harry made plum pudding following a recipe that has been in Harry’s family for several generations. This is curious because Harry is not at all English and plum pudding is a fine old English Christmas tradition. As I'm sure we're all aware, however, humans do all sorts of strange things and generally are none the worse for it. But I digress. I am given to understand that Jennifer made plum pudding a few years ago and that Spanky, a member of a lesser breed without the law, wrote a description of the process for this blog. While it provides a quite suitable description of the process given it's authorship, I felt that an additional account would be quite beneficial to the readers of the blog.

Things went about the same this time around except that Bethanie knew of a local grocery store where all of the ingredients, including the essential suet, could be found. Jennifer had quite a bit of trouble locating suet in California, but Michigan is much more civilized than California in that respect. As some of our readers might be unfamiliar with this ingredient, I thought it wise to include a picture:


Numerous ingredients are necessary for a proper plum pudding and they must be thoroughly mixed. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how distasteful it would be take a bite of what one believes to be delicious pudding only to discover that a particular morsel consists entirely of raisins or have cherries.

Harry and Jennifer had a bit of a debate over whether the ingredients, specifically the cherries, needed to be chopped. Harry was against it, while Jennifer was for it. Things reached such a state that Jennifer threatened to call Harry's mother. Rather than see either one proved incorrect by this appeal to a higher authority (they are both quite stubborn when it comes to admitting fault), I intervened and suggested a compromise. The cherries were cut in half and the process was finally able to move forward.


After the ingredients were mixed, they were usually steamed using a pudding steamer. It should come as no surprise that individuals with a mixture of Irish, Scottish, and French blood failed to have such a device at hand. Fortunately, Jennifer is English on her mother's side and was able to assemble an ad hoc pudding steamer from materials at hand. It may be inelegant, but it was sufficient for our purposes.


And at last we have the finished pudding! Delightful, isn’t?


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