First, I wanted to share a couple of photos of The Christmas Cake:
Today was feeding day, as you can probably see. By the time Christmas is here, the cake will undoubtedly be 80 proof.
Second, while the other day I made the traditional Christmas pudding,* today I tried something new. I made an authentic (or so the BBC Food section assures me) figgy pudding. Yes, the kind featured in "We wish you a merry Christmas... Oh, bring us some FIGGY PUDDING..."
*Traditional British Christmas pudding is actually "plum pudding." Back in medieval times - and possibly into the 18th / 19th centuries - "plum" was the word used for most dried fruits. Plum puddings always had dried currants, raisins, and any other fruit they had to hand. Even today they tend to be loaded with an assortment of dried fruit.
I have two pudding steamers, a fairly small one (plenty big enough to make puddings for Himself) and a rather large one that probably makes a pudding big enough to serve 6-8. I'll be using that one tomorrow to steam the figgy pudding:
We're having a special Christmas dinner a little early with family who can't be here on Christmas day, so we'll aim to have the figgy pudding when there's a bunch of us - though Hiimself tells me leftovers are always welcome!
Last but not least - a couple of years ago we went to a place in Tennessee called "The Museum of Appalachia." It's not too far from Knoxville. We love it! There are something like three or four dozen buildings, most of which have been rescued from their original sites and brought to the Museum where they've been restored and furnished in a mostly 19th-century style.
The collection they've built over the years is incredible, with everything from woven coverlets to old instruments to furniture and even a horse-drawn hearse. They have more than rustic cabins and houses - they also have a large mill, various farm buildings, a chapel, a one-room school, and a small portable jail.
Had it not been for the founder many of these structures would have been lost. They had fallen into disuse and were literally rotting away. The Museum gives you a good idea of how people lived in remote areas of the mountains. I always get a much better sense of history from places where I can see such things rather than from reading dry facts.
I signed up for their newsletters and today's email featured information about their Christmas events. Next week, on Saturday, the 12th of December, they are having a special festival, A Candlelight Christmas. The Museum will be open from 5 pm until 8 pm, with many of the buildings open and featuring Christmas trees with handmade ornaments, displays of children's toys, a carol sing, and an opportunity to make your own hand-crafted ornament.
The Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian and is non-profit. If you're anywhere near Knoxville, maybe you'd like to stop in. I'll bet it will be beautiful with candles and lanterns. If I was anywhere in that area, I'd go!
Okay, that's me done. G'night, Sparklers, wherever you are--!