Subversive Pudding

01:00 Mon 16th Dec 2002 |

Q. What is the origin of the Christmas Pudding.
A. Some 40 million Britons will dine on Christmas Pudding this year and owe a debt of gratitude of King George I.

Q. So it days back to King George
A. No, far earlier. Richard II probably, and maybe even before that.

Q. Was it always a pudding
A. No - it originated as porridge - and it had beef in it.

Q. Beef in Christmas pudding !
A. And mutton.

Q. You're kidding me
A. The esteemed pudding began life as a 14th century porridge, made of beef, mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, wine, and mixed spices.

Q. Why meat
A. It was designed to be a hugely substantial dish to be eaten in advance of a period of fasting before Christmas, and so was intended to be as nourishing and energising as possible.

Q. Do original recipes still exist.
A. Yes… but you might not be able to follow them.
'To make frumente. Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; sethe it til it breste in water.'

Q. None of the original ingredients are plums. So why 'Plum Pudding'
A. The plums came later, around the 16th century, when sprits and dried fruit were added, along with eggs which were designed to thicken the porridge mixture.

Q. Where does George I come into this
A. The dish was so rich that the Puritans banned it. George I tasted it about 50 years later and loved it, to he repealed the ban.

Q. Has it changed since then
A. Yes, the modern version was honed by those cooking fanatics the Victorians, who also (thanks to the Germanic influence of Prince Albert) ramped up the whole process of celebrating Christmas.

Q. What was the biggest Christmas pudding

A. Rumour has it that the heaviest Christmas pudding weighed over 3 tons.

Q. Where would one go to weigh a pie

A. Somewhere over the rainbow.

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