A Pam’s Recipe Book

Once my aunt was settled into the nursing home my cousin (her son who lived in Perth on the other side of the country) decided put her place on the market so some clearing (decluttering) had to happen. As houses were more easy to sell if they were furnished he wanted a lot of the extra stuff gone – and apart from one or two items wasn’t interested in where it went.

I started to go through kitchen drawers and discovered her special recipe book, a very battered exercise book with handwritten recipes from friends here in Australia. For all her upbringing (and I mean that in a nice way ) she wasn’t a really fancy (or good) cook – born and raised in India she and her sister were sent to boarding school so had never been at home to see and learn how and I know Uncle John would sometimes take her out to dinner rather than have her get upset at trying to cook things that didn’t turn out well. I’m not making that up – he told me that on more than one occasion.

Anyway the only time I’d seen her use this book over the years was at Christmas time when she’d make ‘The Pudding’. It was the only tradition I remember about life in her house from the early 70’s when we arrived here in Australia. She would let everyone know when she was going to be cooking and asked if you wanted to come over and stir the pudding. Stir- up Sunday

There are 3 Christmas pudding recipes in the book and I can still see the faces of the people they came from quite clearly.

The first from Jean is short and very direct – just like Jean

The second from her sister Betty has lots of ingredients and simple concise instructions

The third from Joan a fabulous tennis club friend of Pam’s who played hard and partied in a similar fashion. Cooking time for her was similar to her parties….. all day for as many days as possible !

Where the first two suggest a wine glass of brandy like the good hostess who provides choices for her guests she suggests Rum, Milk or Beer – leaving the amount up to you.😊

Can you see which one was used the most?

Each year about November Aunty Pam would start to gather her ingredients to make Betty’s pudding, she’d buy new calico for the pudding bowls and then on the day tick as she added each ingredient to the mixing bowl.

Some years she’d tick as she wrote down her list to take the the shop to buy the ingredients and then get into a real muddle when she forgot which ticks were ‘buying’ ticks and which were ‘added’ ticks.

I had to make a mad dash to the house one year to try and find out what had been added to the mixing bowl and what hadn’t ‘cose she hadn’t just weighed out and put in individual little bowls, then put the packets back in the cupboard but was adding straight into to the mixing bowl after weighing, had packets all over the place and was quite upset because she couldn’t tell the difference between raisins and sultanas.

It was then we began to realise how muddled and confused she was getting, how things were becoming a problem and sadly that was the last time she made the puddings.

~ ~ ~ ~

So I had the book and the recipes (which she didn’t know); and one day about a year later we were talking about cooking and out of the blue she said it would be nice if I made her ‘that lovely Christmas pudding that Betty makes’
Her sister Betty had been gone for about 10years by then so I had no idea what made her say that.

None of my family really like Christmas Pudding but I gave her my word I’d give it a go. Unfortunately she never got to taste the one’s I did (and still do) make.

Betty’s Christmas Pudding 2013

Linking to the very last edition of Denyse’s ~  Life’s Stories.

Her thoughts this week are on Endings and Beginnings.
A bit like A Pam leaving her home to me starting the Christmas Pudding tradition

10 thoughts on “A Pam’s Recipe Book

  1. Oh YUM! This is one of the things I dearly love about the British–the ‘pudding’ is akin to our Fruitcake and it’s one of my favorite treats. Thanks for sharing the recipes–I’ve saved them all.

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  2. I remember this tradition and I know most of my relatives made a pud….but since it more common to have a trifle, pav or fruit and ice cream, not so on the menu. Often now BBQ instead of a full on roast.

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  3. I don’t make a pudding but do make multiple cakes each year (as gifts). And we have the stir up day here too. A day for stirring and wishing.
    Lovely recipes and yes, I have some cookbooks/recipes from my mama. The ones she made most often have stains. And scribbled notes on the side. Precious stains…

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  4. Christmas pudding, fruit cake and anything similar F could eat st any time of the year, any season. When she makes xmad pudding she makes lots of small ones so there is no over supply at xmas and plenty for her to ration yo herself later…🤔😉🙄

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  5. I love those old family cookbooks. I have a few from my mother.
    We, as in greek family, don’t like Xmas cake or pudding much. No chocolate 🥺. I used to make a pudding but a simple fruit cake is what I make now. With lots of brandy or whisky 😁

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  6. I was thinking this was odd for pudding, but see it is a lot like mothers fruit cake and it did take all day and days to make them. she always made 3 to 5 at one time in a week, for gifts and to keep wrapped up in some kind of material to get soft. I saw a show on TV that took recipes that looked like these and framed them and hung in the kitchen of the house they remodeled. you have fond memories

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  7. I think things like recipe books are treasures we should hold on to and I’m not sentimental about stuff. My mum has a couple that she’s had forever and there are notes in there about adding this or changing that. So very precious.

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  8. So many beautiful memories in this post. The Christmas pudding looks lovely. My mum has a fantastic recipe that she’s not yet keen to pass on. She doesn’t make it any more but I think she doesn’t want to admit that her baking days are over. It must be very difficult.

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  9. So many memories seeing the hand written recipes. I have all of my Mum’s cookbooks, bits and pieces too. Mum was a gifted self-taught cook and used her intuition a lot. I notice I tend to as well. Lovely post!! Thank you for kindly linking up your blog post for the “last, last lucky last” link up from Denyse Whelan Blogs.

    Bloggers such as yourself have made my day, week and month many times with your kindness, your care and sharing your stories too.

    I am grateful to have had such an opportunity to create and keep a great community of which you have been a valued member.

    I will still be blogging from time to time and I look forward to continuing connections where we might ‘meet’ again.

    Warm wishes,

    Denyse.

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