Even Scrooge wouldn't eat this stuff

Okay…every year about this time, these people show up, singing about some dessert, and they "won't go until we get some…" 

Obviously they're singing about figgy pudding, and obviously they're singing the old standard, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Apparently, that's some seriously good pudding.

What the heck is figgy pudding? Well, we looked it up. It's actually more of a cake than a pudding. So why not call it figgy cake then? Why pudding? Sheesh.

There have been recipes for this concoction since the 15th century, although its popularity as a Christmas dessert reached its peak during the late 19th century. It's still a popular and traditional dish served today in England.

So if it's so popular, why can't we all run out and pick some up so we can get rid of those pesky carolers, um, we mean, enjoy the holidays? Well, apparently, this dish takes an interminably long time to cook, has an exotic ingredients list and has more saturated fat than that guy that keeps getting kicked off airplanes.

The traditional way to cook it is to steam it, and that version is similar to a modern bread pudding. It contains a blend of figs, dates, fruits and spices. Hmmph. Sounds remarkably like fruitcake. Except for the whole steam thing. It takes around four hours to steam the pudding.

This steaming pile of, um, cake, is often served thus: The pudding is placed on the table, and someone turns out the lights, and the cook pours some warm brandy, cognac or rum over the pudding – good luck doing that in the dark – and then sets it on fire. The cook is then supposed to bask in the warm glow of everyone's praise for a job well done. That is, unless the cook has mistakenly poured the liquor over a loved one and set him on fire.

According to English tradition, a figgy pudding was cooked and served to carolers who came calling, thus the mention in the Victorian-era song. But in the states, we have a different sort of tradition. We have fruitcake.

It's not steamed, but it's full of candied fruit and lots of Grandma's liquor stash, and nobody wants to eat it. So in this country, we pass around the same brick of fruitcake for years, amongst friends. It's often what we send people we work with that we don't like. 

The next time people show up at your house caroling "We won't go until we get some, we won't go until we get some, we won't go until we get some, so bring some out here…"  we suggest the following. Toss a fruitcake out the front door. If the carolers are truly hungry, they'll eat it. 

If they're not, maybe you'll scare them off. Or knock them out. 


Published Wednesday, December 8, 2010 2:21 PM by bulldog
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