I 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 (thttp://theverybesttop10.com/2013/12/13/alternative-christmas-puddings/), 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.
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.