Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

New Twist on Festive Plum Desserts

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

New Twist on Festive Plum Desserts

Article excerpt

CHRISTMAS lunch is a reasonably traditional affair in the Russell house.

My grandfather was raised in Herefordshire during the early 1900s, and no matter what the weather was doing, the extended family always sat down to a feast of roast meats, vegies, and, most important of all, gravy.

My dad inherited the family desire to roast, albeit with a few kilos of chilled prawns thrown in for good measure.

And it seems that I too have inherited the Russell love of a traditional Christmas lunch. Give me a glazed, baked ham, some pork with crispy crackling, apple sauce, roast spuds, and a warm plum pudding with homemade custard for dessert, and I am one happy vegemite.

My love of tradition is completely unfashionable, I know, but I never follow blindly, or unwillingly.

ICOm the first to suggest that we should always be prepared to ask of tradition, C[pounds sterling]why?C[yen], and if the answer doesnCOt cut it, ICOve got no qualms in ditching something traditional in favour of something more contemporary.

Take plum pudding, for example.

I absolutely adore the stuff, and I still hold out hope that ICOll one day gag on a hidden sixpence.

But this morning I wondered, C[pounds sterling]Why on earth is it called plum pudding when it doesnCOt contain plumsC[yen]. Is one of my favourite desserts just tradition for traditionCOs sake?

My wife, nearly always smarter than me, came up with the answer straight away Co plum pudding once contained prunes.

The names of many plants have evolved during the course of history, and the plum, which has been cultivated since antiquity, is no different.

It is said that the Duke of Anjou carried plum stones home from the Holy Land at the close of the Fifth Crusade, but others suggest the fruit was grown by the ancient Greeks, and the trees gradually spread into northern Europe.

Either way, itCOs true the French were the people who really embraced plum growing. The French term for plum is C[pounds sterling]pruneC[yen] (after the Latin prunum), and it seems that once the fruit started being grown in Medieval England, the terms prune and plum were in general circulation to describe the same fruit. …

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