"Only a bedrock of latent intoxication and seasonal greed can convince an ordinary person that what they need after bloodymarysmokedsalmonchampagnewineturkeyroastpotatoessprouts carrotsgravywinecranberrysaucesausageshambaconwinewinewine is a mound of sticky, cloacal, saccharine sludge sloshed in alcohol butter, but back we come every year. Between the idea and the reality falls the pudding.
"The pudding seems to have had two principal forerunners. The first were the earliest mince pies, which saw cooked, shredded meat, dried fruits, alcohol with its preservative qualities and perhaps a few spices or herbs, all encased in large pies. These were mainly bulwarks against winter, the hoarded dregs of more plentiful seasons. The second main Ur-pudding was a pottage or soup called frumenty, a fast dish involving cracked wheat, currants and almonds which was ladled out at the start of a meal. Subsequently, people baked this into a kind of pie, adding breadcrumbs for bulk, eggs to bind it, and upping the dried fruits. They then called it plum pudding, 'plum' meaning dried grape or raisin."
- Oliver Thring, writing in The Guardian's Word of Mouth blog
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.