The Scrap Album - Site Guide
Christmas Fare

A peculiarly British compound

No Christmas dinner was complete without the Christmas pudding. Plum puddings appeared on Christmas cards from the earliest times, usually adorned with the traditional sprig of holly.

Plum-pudding archeology

Those learned in plum-pudding archeology maintain that the pudding era was preceded by aeons of plum broth or porridge. In this form it was, no doubt, palatable enough.

What culinary genius of past ages first consolidated the semi-liquid chaos of “linked sweetness long drawn out” into the sphere of delight which now adorns our Christmas dinner-table, the plain sight or smell of which drives our little ones half wild with delight?

A time of absorbing interest

The making of the Christmas pudding is the triumph of housewifely art. It is of time absorbing interest and the kitchen which is at other times forbidden ground to the children is during the preparations and the blending process theirs as by right divine.

When the cook’s hand has duly compounded the ingredients, auxiliary hands are ever ready to give a stir for luck’s sake, thus providing a thorough mix. Now the time has arrived for commmitting the composite treasure securely ensconced in cloth or mould to the pot, and fire and water when controlled by skill and prudence are called upon to do their mistress’s bidding.

O moment of anxiety !

The hopes and fears of days culminate when after many hours of careful watching to keep the pot gently boiling the lid is lifted, the pudding raised by stalwart arms is placed upon the table and freed from its swaddling clothes.

The children crowd round the table catching, through clouds of vapour, glimpses of the rotund dark-brown beauty - a Venus newly risen from her warm bath and smiling all over with delight - their shouts of glee proclaim mamma’s or cook’s triumph to the whole house.
Adapted from Illustrated London News
December 1867

Joyous hearts and happy faces

Inspired by the example of the Queen herself, the nation became wholeheartedly devoted to the ideal of the family Christmas.

Turkey, roast beef, plum pudding, mince pies and rich fruit cake were indispensable elements of the festive feast.

I'm only a poor turkey

  • I wish you Christmas happiness good people all!
  • I’m only a poor turkey and cannot say I see,
  • The cause of all this mirth and folly -
  • Still - may you all be glad and jolly -
  • And dine on mine - not ME

Tasteful greetings

Christmas cards, in all their forms, tended to convey the same idea of a Happy Christmas through the depiction of a plentiful dinner.

We end with the wish, which morose dyspeptics will perhaps grunt out cannot be realised with Christmas dinners, especially with the pudding : May good digestion wait on appetite, And health on both.

  • From top
  • Eyre & Spottiswoode No 4130
  • 159 x 121mm (6¼ x 4¾in)
  • No publisher
  • 62 x 95mm (2½ x 3¾in)
  • No publisher
  • 89 x 62mm (3½ x 2½in)
  • Opposite
  • R.Tuck, London (Raphael Tuck & Sons)
  • Copyrighted 1878
  • 76 x 127mm (3 x 5in)
After Dinner

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