Punchinello’s Chronicles

December 2, 2008

Christmas Pudding, Tea and Biscuits

Filed under: Foolish Rants — Punchinello @ 1:42 am
Tags: , ,

Y’know, you’d think the British would speak plain English! But no, they’ve gotta make everything weird! I’ve been busy over the Thanksgiving holidays, working on ways to make money. But with Internet radio, it’s fun listening to carols and holiday music. There’s this song, “We Wish you a Merry Christmas,” and it has a line about Christmas pudding.

From as far back as I can remember, when my folks read us stories about pudding, I just assumed it was chocolate pudding. I couldn’t imagine why plum pudding would taste good in any conceivable way. After all, it was basically chocolate pudding made with plums in it, right?

I had no clue. I’d eaten chocolate pudding, so I knew what the hell that was. (I’d also had mashed potatoes with mozzarella cheese in it, done as a strange experiment by my mom.) I got the concept, understood the word. Pudding is frickin’ pudding! It’s either made by Jell-O, or comes in a bottle or some other dairy container. Right?


Pudding is cake. Or pie. Or, well…pudding. At least that’s what the Brits claim. And that’s why I think there oughta be a law that English people should speak plain English! Why can’t English be the primary language of England?

And forget about the queens’ English. I’m all for gay rights, but the pronunciations are hard for the rest of us. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just plain old, normal, ordinary English! Is that too much to axt? (None of that Ebonics nonsense, either!)

So there I was, a little kid, like maybe 6 years old, hearing stories about going around on Christmas and having pudding. Then I decided to be a Boy Scout. Now I’m like, 12 and out in the middle of winter, up on some damn-fool mountain, freezin’ my ass off, having fun camping. We cooked over an open fire, in the dark. All I could hear in my head was “Night on Bald Mountain,” which I’d heard in the movie “Fantasia.”

For dinner, we had a fine selection of chicken cooked on a spit, some vegetables of unknown origin, I believe some Wonder bread, and I think some potatoes someone left in the fire. And for dessert, la pièce de résistance, butterscotch putting.

Did you know that flames actually can freeze solid and break off like icicles?


We figured the chicken was done when it was black. The potatoes had to be done, because they were glowing. Nobody knew what happened to the veggies, it was too dark and our flashlights didn’t work all that well. Of course the chicken was raw on the inside, and we didn’t much care for it. The potatoes, too, were similar in texture to fine, river-bottom granite.

Well, okay…we’d at least make pudding. And of course we’d use water with condensed milk. And naturally, we’d use tin pots with handles, suspended from a stick over the roaring fire. (We’d knocked apart some of the flames with an axe to make room for better ones.)

To make a long story only slightly shorter, we realized we couldn’t see the butterscotch color in the dark, looking into a pot on top of a fire, with smoke in our eyes, freezing our asses off, starving to death. One of the more competent of us decided we could likely use intuition and psychic powers to know if the pudding was done.

When we divined it was indeed done, we took it off the fire. At -30 degrees, anything will congeal in about ten seconds flat. So it LOOKED done!

We went to bed hungry that night. I had no idea it was an omen fortelling my future. But from that point on, whenever I hear someone say “pudding,” I’ve remembered globs of frozen, uncooked butterscotch pudding hanging from pine trees, like snot from a runny nose.

It actually looked quite festive, the next morning, after the blizzard stopped. You could see frozen water droplets along the mud-like edges, sparkling in the weak winter sunlight like decorations on a live Christmas tree.

And don’t even get me started on biscuits! Where I come from, you have biscuits with breakfast. They’re made from Bisquick or forged by Pillsbury and frozen. They’re not at all like dinner rolls, either. In rare instances, I can accept that “dumplings” might be construed to be biscuits, if you like blobs of sticky flour that have no apparent function in a stew.

Nope. Biscuits are “cookies!” I’ve discerned this from my work in translating English to English. I’m still working on “crumpets.” I thought they were a musical instrument, but from canny analysis of contextual juxtaposition, I suspect they’re some sort of food product too.

I’ll bet “tea” means coffee, or soda, or wine. And what’s with “scones?” Aren’t those the things you put a torch in, if you’re exploring the Mummy’s tomb? Or if you’re an angry peasant, storming the gates of the castle? I tell ya, there oughta be a law!


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