It is time we replaced the Christmas Pudding
The old medieval hot fruit lump must be unseated as our default Xmas pud
This Christmas day in Britain there are five people I feel sorry for. The first is the Queen. By 3pm, when her annual speech is shown on TV, most of Britain will be slobbered over a sofa, a bottle (or seven) down and hallucinating little piggies in cotton blankets as we suffer a food coma. And she will have to pretend that the Monarchy is not on fire while we all yell ‘WHERE’S ANDY PANDY!!’ at home.
The second group of people I feel sorry for is my family. You see, whereas normally after the Queen’s speech we’d steam up a Christmas Pudding with brandy sauce, this year we will eat profiteroles and cheesecake or maybe treacle tart. Because I’ve told them, if I have to endure another Christmas Pudding again on this festive day, I’m going to kill the lot of them — with a cheese grater.
The Christmas Pudding is single handily the most pretentious, outdated, pointless, medieval, stone-textured, impractical lump of faux-festive-fu*kery to have graced this great island nation. Whoever invented it, and whoever decided to keep up the sad tradition of mixing its polarising ingredients together for the sake of some charlatans, should be drawn up high by the balls — I bet it was a man — until they dangle up and down like a human yoyo.
Legend has it that Christmas Pudding was first thought up back in the Dark Ages when there were few ingredients to play around with and no Mary Berry to inspire cooking creation. Initially, it was called ‘Plum Pudding’ and, the myth has it, was made using a variety of ingredients (13) to signify Jesus and his 12 disciples. The reigning King liked it very much.
Making Christmas pud is quite simple. In broad terms, you throw apples, nutmeg, raisins, flour, breadcrumbs, almonds, sugar, eggs and candied fruit peels together. Then to mask the taste of this compost you lather it all with a dollop of brandy or cognac and leave it all to rest.
And if you think that sounds like the IKEA description for making a bonfire, you are not wrong, because whoever developed the pudding then decided people should set it on fire. Perhaps the only reason this confused dessert has lasted so long — we’re all secretly pyromaniacs.
Obviously, the ingredients have changed over time — getting a bit sweeter — and so did the name. By 1845, Eliza Acton — a food writer no less — started referring to this pudding as the ‘Christmas Pudding’. And as people in the 1900s were quaint traditional souls, the title has stuck ever since.
But now it is nearly 2020, isn’t it time that wholesome title of ‘Christmas Pudding’ applied to another dessert? Maybe one that most people actually enjoy and eat… I think so at least.
And the data agrees with me. According to Google, the search interest for the Christmas Pudding peaked at 100 — the highest score — before Christmas day 2015, but since then it’s got down year-on-year. In 2018, the strength of interest fell to 72 — which search optimisation friends tell me is bad.
Evidently, the title of Christmas Pudding needs re-allocating. It should not belong to a single dessert, and certainly not for hundreds of year. It should be a role, like a Prime Minister or President, and it should be able to evolve depending on current tastes.
I therefore propose, this country faces a vital choice this December: should we replace the Christmas Pudding?
I am very happy to lead the battle arguing we should. Let’s restore it to its original ‘Plum Pudding’ and find ourselves a new dessert this nation can crown Christmas Pudding.
Who is with me?