Dear SOS: We read a poem called “Little Jack Horner” and in it was a Christmas pie. We want to know what is in a Christmas pie. Do you have a recipe for it? Thank you.
Mrs. Higashi’s class
Dear class: In England, plum pie (Christmas pie) came to be called plum pudding (Christmas pudding). Neither the pie nor the pudding has plums. That’s because long ago in England, prunes, then raisins, were called plums. It’s a little bit confusing, but so is the rhyme. Good boys don’t stick their thumbs in pies, do they?
There’s a legend (a story that is handed down for generations that can’t be verified) that goes like this: When Henry VIII was King of England in the 16th century, he abolished the Catholic Church in his country and formed the Church of England. The king took the land, buildings and wealth of the Catholic churches and kept them for himself. An abbot of the Catholic Church sent his errand boy named Jack Horner to the king with a gift: a pie stuffed with deeds (a paper that gives legal ownership of property) to 12 manors. A manor is a big mansion with lots of land.
The abbot wanted to keep Henry VIII happy because this particular king beheaded lots of people, including two of his wives. On the way to deliver the pie, Jack Horner stuck his hand in it and pulled out the deed to the Manor of Mells, a “plum.” There are Horner descendants that still live at the Manor of Mells, but they insist that their ancestor bought the manor from the king, properly.
Here is a good Web site for kids with more information on Henry VIII: http://www.brims.co.uk/tudors.
That’s a long answer to a short question. Here is a kid-friendly recipe for Christmas pudding that ran in The Times in 1904 and was reprinted in 1998 in our “Times Past” column. Writer Leilah Bernstein said: “The traditional accompaniment for the dish is hard sauce. The substitution of grape jelly for the usual brandy, rum or whiskey in the hard sauce recipe probably reflects the temperance sentiment predominant in Los Angeles at the time.”
Ask Mrs. Higashi to explain temperance.
Ask your butcher or at the meat counter for beef fat trimmings.