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 Flaming, Holly-topped Christmas Pudding | English christmas pudding, Christmas  pudding, Christmas favorites

 

Guinness Book of World Records alert: “Best-Aged Plum Pudding.”

My recollection is that we made this batch of plum puddings eight summers ago. Tonight we eat the last one.

It was hot and steamy that night, I remember, just after Midsummer's. (When better to prepare the quintessential food of Midwinter?) The whole coven came over, bringing everything that we needed: dried fruit (raisins black and white, currants, apricots, dried pineapple...), breadcrumbs, butter, date sugar. We chopped, we mixed, we steamed. Voilà: the Sun by Night, the Solar sacrament.

(I remember that we had just been over to the Science Museum in “Saint” Paul to see an exhibit of artifacts from Pompeii. I can distinctly recall being struck by a certain decorative painting, clearly rooted in Bacchic religion, depicting a head crowned with vine leaves. The leaves merged indistinguishably into the figure's hair. Here, I thought, we see the origins of the Green Man/Leaf Face motif so beloved of modern pagans. Pompeii was destroyed in 79 CE; mere decades later, the face composed entirely of leaves emerges—there's a fine example, circa 100 CE, from the Temple of Jupiter in Baalbek—a motif which will haunt the Western imagination for the next 2000 years, and emerge as a central icon of the Pagan Revival. We may derive the Green Man as we know him from medieval ecclesiastical sculpture, but his roots are indisputably pagan and indisputably Bacchic.)

Having made the puddings, we let them age. Every full Moon, I'd take them out of the cupboard and irrigate them with brandy. (Talk about Bacchic.) Every year, on Midwinter's Eve, we'd steam one up. As it came in procession from the kitchen, crowned with holly, enhaloed in blue flame, we'd rise to our feet and sing a song of welcome.

Then we'd dive in. O rapture, as the Scarecrow once said.

(Like the very best fruitcake that you've ever had, but hot and melting in the mouth, with a beautiful velvety texture. Ohmigods.)

Later, of course, we'd sing the song for the plum pudding and dance the plum pudding dance. (“I swear, you guys are the only real pagans left in the US,” a friend of mine once quipped after hearing about this.)

So tonight, after singing down the Sun, after lighting the Yule log, after the Dance of the Wheel, after the 13-course Mother Night feast (a course for each Moon of the coming year), we'll top it all off with steaming spoonfuls of the world's best-aged plum pudding, itself the 13th course. Witches being witches, of course, there have been dark jokes about whether or not it will be safe to eat.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Good eye, Anthony: that's the one. You won't be surprised to hear that there's a lot of overlap between the local pagan and Morris
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Over on YouTube there is someone going by the handle MidwestMorrisAle who has several videos of a lumps of plum pudding dance. Is

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
If You Give Gifts at This Time of Year...

 

Why not consider some of the great suggestions Jon Cleland Host has over at Naturalistic Paganism?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Nonalcoholic Mead
  • 1 quart honey
  • 3 quarts distilled water
  • 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 half-teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Boil five minutes and then cool and bottle immediately. Keep in the fridge to avoid fermentation, and enjoy.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Beltane Brew
Honeyed mead is revered as the drink of choice for the sexy pagan holy day of Beltane. It is an aphrodisiac, and with its sticky sweetness, it is perfect for dribbling on your lover’s body and then licking it off. This is my special recipe for honeyed mead, handed down through generations of Celtic witches. You will need:
 
  • 1 quart of honey
  • 3 quarts of distilled water
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • Herbs to flavor
  1. Mix the honey and water. Boil for five minutes. You can add the herbs in proportions to your liking; I prefer a teaspoon each of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.

  2. Add a packet of yeast and mix. Put in a large container. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise and expand. Store the mixture in a dark place and let it sit for seven days.

...
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On Sunday, December 19, 2021 (10 a.m. CST) I'll be addressing (via Zoom) the good folks of the Unitarian Church of Underwood, Minnesota. 

 

Have You Spoken with the Sun Lately?

Reflections on the Winter Solstice

 

A reporter once asked a witch: Do witches pray?

The witch smiled. We dance, she said.

 

Please join us Sunday, December 19, 2021, when storyteller Steven Posch asks, "Have you spoken with the Sun lately?", reflects on Indigenous European religion, and shares the songs, tales, and even—yes—dances of the Winter Solstice.

 

Poet, scholar, and storyteller Steven Posch (rhymes with "gauche") was raised in the wooded hills of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer (that's the story, anyway), and has celebrated the Winter Solstice since the tender age of twelve. He emigrated to Paganistan (which may or may not be Minneapolis, MN) in 1989, and has since become (gods help us all) a respected senior voice in the American pagan community. Current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser, he blogs at the wickedly popular Paganistan blog.

He also looks pretty good in a kilt.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cardamom Coffee Crush

Cardamom is a spice East Indians have used to good effect, as they are the creators of the Kama Sutra. Called the “grains of paradise,” you can find it in any grocery store. Organic cardamom can be recognized by the green color of the pods. To get the highly desirable grains, crush the pods in your mortar and pestle and extract the seeds. You will need:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Cardamom from 6 pods
  • 1⁄2 cup ground coffee beans
  • 6 cups water
  • Cream or half & half
  • 1 tablespoon honey or raw sugar

 

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To Your Health! Mulled Medieval Merriment

Start preparing this special mixture by pouring a gallon of unfiltered sweet apple cider into a big pot. Go for organic cider or juice from the farmer’s market for best taste and energetic effects, but it is even better if you can make cider from apples you have gathered or harvested. Take a bottle of your favorite low-cost red wine and heat it in a large pot gently on a low flame. Add sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to your taste, but include at least a teaspoon of cloves and a tablespoon each of sugar and cinnamon. Pour the cider into the warmed wine, and add thirteen whole cloves and six cinnamon sticks. Simmer, stirring every six minutes. Notice how your entire home fills with the spicy sweetness of merriment. After thirty minutes, it will be ready to serve.

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