Sunday, May 13, 2012

How not to cook a pudding

Because it’s mother’s day, and because my posts yesterday were so depressing, here’s a mom story that’s a bit more light-hearted.
As I said yesterday, my mother was not a great cook, and by necessity it forced me to learn to do so. Her idea of a salad was a piece of wet lettuce and half a cucumber, plonked on a plate. She used to use the smoke detector as a cooking timer. You could have built the foundations of a bungalow with her flapjacks. Plus, she had an aversion to cooking anything “foreign”. Many of my food dislikes are effectively due to traumatic dinner experiences as a child.

One infamous cooking incident involved a Christmas pudding. For Americans that don’t know this British delicacy, it is basically a dense, moist fruit cake with cherries, rasins and other dried fruits, and to finish it off you pour over some brandy and flambé it . It’s also traditional to stir in charms, or silver sixpences, and this is lucky for the finder, although then it was twenty pence pieces (probably 2 pound coins  today with inflation). So my mother prepared this Christmas treat, mixing in many twenty pence pieces, wrapped in aluminium foil. She then soaked it liberally with brandy, very liberally (my Moms liked her tipple, as do all the family).

And then microwaved it.

Can you see the flaw in the plan?

Basically, the large quantity brandy vaporized, and the metal foil wrapped coins content super-heated, turning the humble Christmas pudding into an explosive device. The microwave exploded/melted, turning lucky 20 pence pieces into shrapnel. Luckily the kitchen was empty and the cat had vacated it moments before (maybe alarmed at the smoke and sparks coming from the microwave prior to the explosion).

Forget searching airline passengers for traces of semtex and C4 at airports, come the holidays, they should be scanning for xmas pud.

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