• scissors
    November 29th, 2011ImogenUncategorized

    After 3 and three quarter hours, it emerged from the oven to the exultant tones of Handel.

    There it sat in its double lined saucepan, a giant nugget of cakey, fruity, boozy goodness. Behold! I cried, brandishing the improvised tin at my dozing mother: a cake is born!

    The Reactants

    This weekend saw the first Stir-Up Sunday in a generation of Houses. At the grand age of 21 I decided that I wanted to have a go at making a Christmas cake, since I love Christmas and I love cake, so why not? When I declared this to my parents they were somewhat bemused since Houses don’t really “do” Christmas cake, nor pudding. Aware of the gaping abyss of mixed peel, brandy and baking times opening up before me I consulted Grandma House on the matter, hoping to receive some treasured handed-down recipe. Alas, none such was to be found. I heard from my Grandma that once she made Christmas puddings every year, a whole year in advance. She told me, without nostalgia, that a time came when you could buy puddings “that were just as good” from shops and so she hung up her pudding basin.

    It seemed odd to me that someone of my Grandma’s generation would value commercial produce over homemade, but then, when my Grandma was 17, WWII broke out. After rationing I’m sure the idea of buying your Christmas pudding was a huge step up from powdered eggs and hoarding butter rations. Now, in my generation, making things is back in vogue. Anyone can buy a chunky cable knit snood from Topshop, but who can make their own? (I couldn’t, but my sister did). Sure, you could just pop down to Tescos and purchase your Finest Christmas Pudding with caramelised holly leaves and a miniature of brandy for singeing your eyebrows with. However, who has the time to stir 2lbs of dried fruit into a gloopy mix and then bake it upon a sheet of newspaper for almost four hours? The excessive labour is part of the love that goes into it. Only once a year can such extravagance for one single baked good be justified.

    Only a mother could love it

    If no one else likes the luscious/delicious/blasted cake and it takes me until Easter to finish eating the concoction then so be it! If anyone would like to give me a hand, please send stamped addressed cake boxes from Boxing Day onwards. Only put quite a lot of stamps on because it’s pretty dense.

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