The mother on this antique postcard is making the traditional dessert served on Christmas Day, Christmas Pudding or Plum Pudding. It is a dark, steamed pudding, with sweet spices, dried fruit and nuts, and usually made with suet that originated in England. This pudding is definitely not for those on a diet.
History of Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding can be traced back to the 1420s. Back then, it was not a confection or dessert, but a way to preserve meat (dried fruits acted as the preservative). I wonder how long this preservation method lasted.
The ancestor of the modern pudding was the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction. During Queen Elizabeth 1’s reign, plums were added (a popular ingredient). As the sweet content of the Plum Pottage increased, it became increasingly known as Plum Pudding. Around the 1830’s, it became more and more linked with Christmas.
Christmas Pudding Traditions
Traditionally, Plum Puddings were made four to five weeks prior to Christmas (usually the last Sunday before Advent) as they needed to age in the traditional pudding cloth. The household members (at least the children, see pictured antique postcard) took turns making a wish while stirring the concoction. This is why the day became known as Stir-up Sunday.
Tokens (initially a silver coin) were included in the pudding. Whomever’s serving included it, kept the token.
The Christmas Pudding is ceremoniously brought to the table after being doused in brandy and flamed. It was greeted with applause.
This Week’s Bit of Ephemera Trivia:
The Plum Pudding was originally eaten at the Harvest Festival, not Christmas.
Note: Marie over at The French Factrice blog is hosting Postcard Friendship Fridays. Hop on over to Marie’s and check out all the postcard enthusiasts sharing this week.
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