Scandinavia and the World is one of my favourite webcomics. I actually have a few posters signed by Humon, who writes it.
Anyhow, on Christmas, I posted a link to this on my facebook. It was greeted with confusion from a few of my Swedish friends.
1. Cake at christmas?
I laughed for a solid five minutes at this response. Firstly, the burning thing is a pudding, not a christmas cake. Christmas cake is covered with Marzipan and then royal icing (which is made using icing sugar, egg whites, lemon juice and glycerine). We don’t set fire to the cake, only the pudding.
Why? Well… I must admit, I had to google it, and the answer of the internet seems to be ‘no-one’s really sure.’ It’s partially because often people pour brandy on it before serving, and it burns off most of the alcohol content if you set fire to it, leaving the flavour. However, in my house, because the pudding is full of alcohol from the offset, we don’t really bother with the setting fire thing. We don’t pour on extra brandy or set fire to it. However, I must admit that it looks pretty impressive when it is done!
Christmas pudding is eaten after Christmas Dinner. It’s eaten with custard and/or cream, and it is delicious. Most families have their own specific recipes. My family uses a modified version of the Be-Ro recipe, which also contains a few extra secret ingredients. We actually make the pudding and the cake in late September, because it tastes better when it has matured. Genuinely, the alcohol content is necessary to ensure that it doesn’t go mouldy, and in my lifetime, this year is the first time we have ever had difficulties with the pudding going mouldy, and I suspect that’s because Mum was experimenting with using a traditional pudding cloth to wrap it instead of our way of doing it. She discovered the problem a few weeks before christmas though, so we managed to make another one in time.
Christmas cake is a bit more interesting. It isn’t always eaten actually on Christmas day. In our family it’s often New Year’s Eve before we even touch the cake! It also contains considerable quantities of alcohol, as well as almonds and a lot of other ingredients. It’s a very opulent fruit cake, which happens to also be covered with marzipan and then icing. Christmas Cake is also made in September, and in our family, the tradition is that everyone stirs it and makes a wish. Some people do this with the pudding instead, but for us it was always the cake.
Anyhow, the image above amused me, so I thought I’d share a bit of English Christmas Trivia with you!