Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stir up Sunday

It's time to stir up the Christmas pudding - on the 25th Sunday after Trinity, the Sunday before Advent.  In a Victorian poem the mother is making a plum pudding while watching her active children.  After adding raisins (take out the seeds/stone), bread crumbs, suet, eggs, currents, peel, and brandy, the kids added the cat into the pudding.

There are various stories about Stir-up Sunday, and here are two selections from late 19th century.

"The twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity is called by schoolboys Stir-up Sunday, from the collect used on that day; and they repeat the following lines, without considering its irreverent application:

Stir up, we beseech thee,
   The pudding in the pot:
 And when we get home,
    We'll eat it all hot."
Observations on the popular antiquities of Great Britain... v 1, by John Brand, London: 1895


COME down to the kitchen, the pudding to stir;
Pussie and kittens come too—how you purr!
You mustn't touch it, Miss Puss, nor your kit;
But if you're good you may each have a bit.

"Raisins and currants, and bread-crumbs and suet—
I’m sure, cook, I wonder how ever you do it.
Eggs—what a number! and look at the spice!
Oh, won't this great big Christmas pudding be nice!

"Now, Jessie, the raisins—quick, take out each stone.
No, baby dear, leave the big basin alone;
Yes, you shall have some, my dear, by-and-by.
Now, Ernest, be quiet, and mind you don't cry.

"Well, if you're good you may each have a spoon
To stir up the pudding—but yet 'tis too soon;
We have not yet mixed it. Bring currants and peel,
For puddings, you know, take a very great deal.

"We'll now add the brandy and stir it around
(Baby dear, don't drop your spoon on the ground);
Now stir up, and stir up, and stir up again."
"Oh, cook, in my elbow I've got such a pain!"

"Why, Bessie and Ernest, you've stirred in the cat!
Here, Pussie, you naughty thing, jump out of that—
Go out of the kitchen this moment, I say!
Who told you to jump in the basin, Miss, eh?

"I think that will do, dears—you've worked very hard;
I must go and find you a proper reward.
What is it? Oh, something so nice—can you guess?"
"Some crumpets for tea, cook—is that it?"

"Why, yes."
Golden childhood; or, The child's own annual of pictures, poetry and music… Christmas, 1879.  London

©2015 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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