Art, Culture, Food, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Vintage

The Proof Is In The Pudding

birdwomanchristmas puddingI don’t know what message this Victorian Christmas image is trying to convey, but it’s certainly not Christmas cheer. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol refers to “the pudding singing in the copper,” so I can only assume this pudding decided to do a little choreographed number as well. It may be smiling, but the birdwoman is not.  She looks downright alarmed. Fortunately, the lid serves as a protective shield. The message here: pudding is dangerous, albeit polite.

I (like most  Americans) am not familiar with what a Christmas pudding actually looks or tastes like. When Americans think “pudding,” we think chocolate pudding and Bill Cosby. Pudding is not hard and aggressive; it is soft and creamy.

In my mind, the copper pot pudding resembles a yummy fried hushpuppy. Yet, I know that it most certainly is NOT a hushpuppy, because hushpuppies are “comfort food.” They do not get violent.

When Mr. Deasley posted his top ten “alternative” puddings last week (t, I got my first glimpses at these foreign puddings.



This holly-sprigged treat doesn’t look anything like the dessert in the birdwoman cartoon. It does, however, resemble THIS image of what appears to be a burnt meatloaf, carrying his own weapon of execution.

Charles Goodall & Son
Charles Goodall & Son

Perhaps Brits feel the same way about Christmas pudding that Americans feel about fruitcake: unless it is drenched in brandy, why bother? The difference is, we don’t stick currency in our food.

Apparently, custom once dictated putting a coin inside the pudding, and the one who bit down on it and cracked his tooth would interpret it as a sign of good luck. The irony in this cartoon, is that the value of the pound was falling. I liken it to putting a peso in a fruitcake. You’d have to shove seven thousand inside it to make it valuable, at which point, every bite would be fraught with pesos, and everyone would need dental work. OH, I GET IT! THAT’S WHY BRITS HAVE THE REPUTATION FOR BAD TEETH. It all makes sense now. What a revelation.

Anyway,the tradition seems as foolish as slipping a wedding ring inside a cake or a glass of champagne; choking hazards are nothing to rejoice about. Unless you know the Heimlich Maneuver, I would discourage it altogether.


10 thoughts on “The Proof Is In The Pudding”

      1. Nope. I think haggis and bread pudding are as close as I get. However I would love to see some English joint put Spotted Dick Pudding on their menu. Just to see everyone giggle like a 12 year olds.


  1. OK, Speaking of Christmas pudding… What is “figgy pudding as mentioned in the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”? Pudding with figs in it perhaps? That does not sound very tasty, Pass the Rice Pudding please!


  2. Then there’s the Mardi Gras king’s cake, which has a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus) inside and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. One of the obligations might be to go to the dentist. In a hurry.


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