Minnesota, USA – “Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding” – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
[Special thanks to Ms. Karen Paczkowski for the photo of the fig pudding.]
I had fig pudding at a restaurant once. It came to the table on fire in a grand display. It was spongy and dry and tasted like fruitcake. Which is probably the worst insult one can give to fig pudding. I was at the dinner with my classmates, and as I watched one after the other slightly push the plate away after one bite I was devastated. I was watching a tradition die.
Fig pudding, according to history.com, started in Medieval England and became The Christmas Pudding of the English. But, it wasn’t a tradition that carried over to North America with the immigrants. Not many people in the U.S. eat fig pudding over the holidays. But my family does. Somewhere in the chaos of human migration my Scandinavian ancestors picked up this English tradition.
My official passage into adulthood was marked by the acquisition of a copy of Great-Grandma Lillian’s original recipe where suet is still listed as an ingredient. (I’m told the current substitute is shortening). The task of preparing the pudding has not yet fallen on me, but when it does I am ready.
Fig pudding, in my childhood memories, is accompanied by aunts, uncles, and cousins all gathered at my Grandma Thissen’s house where the sounds of football and the smell of coffee permeate every room. Now that my siblings and I are adults, fig pudding is made by my mom and eaten a few hours after Christmas dinner when we’ve all made it home for the holidays.
The fig pudding of my ancestors is not the flamboyant production that arrived at the restaurant that day. Real fig pudding is not made in a bunt pan. Instead, it is boiled in tin coffee cylinders in a big kettle of water with sticks at the bottom to keep it from burning and a brick placed on top to keep the cylinders from floating. It is cut in perfect circles and served on Mom’s special Christmas dishes carefully pulled out of boxes from the closet because there just isn’t enough cupboard space in the kitchen. Real fig pudding is dense and succulent with a simple brown sugar sauce on top for sweetness. Some like it warm but those who like it cold, like me, really know how to enjoy it. But the best part about fig pudding is that it’s the perfect companion for a cup of coffee and a gathering of family. The same way the generations before me and hopefully those after me will enjoy it. “Now bring us some figgy pudding,” indeed.
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).
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Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.
Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu