Sunday, November 30, 2008
By Michele Ann Young
I am definitely a creature of habit. And the holiday season kicks me into ritual mode.
First comes the Christmas pudding ritual. I know lots of people don’t like it, but to me it’s a taste of the past and a wish for the future.
At our house the pud ritual starts in November. I go to the closest bulk food store and buy the freshest of dried fruits—which probably sounds a bit of an oxymoron, but there really is a difference. I use the same recipe every year and have the list in my address book ready to go.
My girls usually help with the weighing and chopping of ingredients. Christmas pudding is all about weighing—and steaming, but that comes later. We always add Guinness to our pudding, makes it lovely and dark. My husband loves to drink the rest of the can. That’s his ritual.
Then we stir. Each person goes up to the bowl alone, takes the wooden spoon, and stirs. While stirring they make a wish for the coming year. No telling your wish or it won’t come true.
After spending the night in the fridge, the mix goes into antique chin pudding bowls and is steamed for eight hours fraught with constant checking to make sure I haven’t let the water boil away. Pudding watching is crucial, so no other arrangements can be made for that day. Last Sunday was Christmas pudding stir up day.
On Christmas day, the pudding arrives on the table to a fanfare and blazing. Brandy is wonderful for this. My husband drinks the rest of the bottle. That is his ritual.
After make-the-pudding-day, it is time to write Christmas cards. I always have a glass of sherry when I write my cards. Today is card-writing Sunday.
What rituals do you have when preparing for the holidays?