Why All the Fuss? Christmas Traditions
Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Most families adopt Christmas rituals, some intentionally and others by popular demand. They become signals to us to enter into the joy of the season, and the holiday would be just a little less wonderful without them.
Steamed persimmon pudding with hard sauce is a requirement at our Christmas Day dinner. The tradition started with store-bought plum pudding, which was a simple way to end a glorious meal.
But one year, a friend of mine offered me a grocery bag of persimmons from her winter garden. The red-orange fruit is shaped like a tomato, and when the fruit is ripe, the jelly-like interior is naturally sweet and delicious to eat with a spoon.
But I had no idea what to do with a bagful of them until I recalled a marvelous persimmon pudding we had eaten in a Napa restaurant years before. We were so smitten with the treat that I asked if the chef would be kind enough to share her recipe. She did, and I still had her handwritten, dashed-off-quickly version.
As I studied the recipe, I realized the ingredients were spelled out well, but the directions were vague and complex, requiring a special mold and “bathing” the pudding in steam for hours. Huh? So I went into research mode and found five other persimmon recipes. I clobbered them all together, steamed the pudding for several hours and…voila! a dessert that brought raves. And demands that I make it every Christmas.
I blushingly explained that I wasn’t sure if I could replicate the feat. All around the table, family members expressed confidence. Thus persimmon pudding became a by-demand Christmas tradition.
It’s appropriate for tradition in our family to center around food. Everyone loves to cook–and eat. As we sit down to a gourmet meal, silence descends while we all savor the latest revelation of the beauty of taste, fragrance, and appearance. God’s creation continues to amaze us!
So every year I, for the love of my family, hunt for persimmons, which, although grown locally, are quite pricey in the grocery store. This year Wendy mailed me a priority box full of them since she found herself in possession of 80 pounds of the sumptuous fruit!
And each year I play around with the recipe since I can never remember exactly how I prepared it the year before.
So a few days before Christmas, I’ll be steaming my pudding in good ol’ Edwardian-style.
What foods are traditions in your family?