It’s Christmas Eve and as I write this my Christmas pudding is boiling away. It’s wrapped in calico and resting on an upturned saucer in a pot of water. As it boils the bubbles cause the plate to go ‘plop, plop, plop’. The familiar sound of Christmas Eve, that lasts for three hours.
It’s my grandma’s recipe. One year, probably sometime around 2009 I happened to arrive at her house a few days before Christmas, before everyone else had arrived. I had been rock climbing at Mount Arapiles near Horsham, and went to my grandparents from there. So I happened to be at her house on Christmas pudding day. I helped, and without knowing, had the responsibility of the Christmas pudding handed down to me.
The following year, when she was asked about the Christmas pudding, she simply replied, ‘Clare’s making it from now on’. She had spoken, and I would be making the pudding.
I’ve made it every year since and every year I feel the pressure. The anxiety has been warranted.
Once you mix up the fairly simple pudding mix, you pour it on to a wet and flour coated piece of calico. Then you tie kitchen string around hold it together. The pressure point here is to tie it loose enough for the pudding to rise as it cooks and tight enough that water won’t get it.
One year I didn’t tie it tight enough and after three hours of boiling I undid the kitchen twine and a wet, mess of pudding collapsed onto my festive Christmas plate. Needless to say I was making a new pudding on Christmas Day, right up to the wire.
Another year, the calico that was hanging out of the pot caught on fire from the gas burner it was cooking on.
I’m feeling confident today, but won’t know how it goes until I open it up in approximately two hours.
I’d love to hear a wonderful, but stressful Christmas tradition that has been passed down to you. Merry Christmas.
P.S It was a success! Probably the best one yet.