Pudding the Spirit into the Holidays - theHumm December 2019
Pudding the Spirit into the Holidays - theHumm December 2019
By Sebastian Weetabix
Weetabix, always vigilant in matters of food, recently learned of a threat to Mississippi Mills’ holiday food supplies. Additional research and some original development work in the deservedly obscure Weetabix test kitchen may have yielded countermeasures, as yet largely untested. The help of his loyal readers is requested. With what and how will become clear. This article delves into details that can be sticky. Our readers must pull their weight — or at least their puddings!
“Puddings? Weight??”, the Editor asks. And so to the plot: A certain green being has been the victim of fake news, disinformation, social media trolling and just plain xenophobia. For years, a fat guy with a red suit has taken all the credit for the generous spirit of the Holiday Season; but are not the traditional colours red AND green? Time to duct tape facts together! The essential clue (or perhaps a clew) that ties things together may be an emaciated figure searching cupboards and finding only a can of “Who Hash”. Better than nothing, but hardly festive. So why Mississippi Mills? And what can be done? Is it possible that part of the problem is simply malnutrition and that the growth of hearts is just a matter of properly presented calories?
A solution to antisocial behavior is supported by some evidence:
Punitive justice is not an efficient mechanism for behavior modification. Puddings, on the other hand, have a tradition of producing somewhat anergic contentment and feelings of well-being. They are part of many festive traditions and play an important and underappreciated role in caulking draughty gaps in our social interactions. That is one of the reasons the other hand (the one holding pudding) is sticky. We press on. Antisocial behavior may be a cry of distress caused by inadequate nutrition. Weetabix advises the residents of Mississippi Mills to take prompt remedial action which can deliver significant benefits in many other ways. Make puddings! Distribute puddings! Eat puddings!
But wait — what is a pudding and what are the properties that distinguish puddings? Wikipedia disappoints: “a type of food that can be either a dessert or a savoury dish that is part of the main meal”. Pudding as savoury dishes brings on memories of boudin blanc served in a traditional Christmas feast in France. Boudin blanc may also provide the root word for pudding. This brings us to the greatest savoury pudding of all and one that is part of the rich ethnic history of the Ottawa Valley.
Yes, dear reader, we have arrived at the ultimate in savoury puddings, subject of jokes and of reverence. To Weetabix’ knowledge, the only pudding to be celebrated in verse and ceremonial slicing. The star dish of supper on Robert Burns Day (January 25 in 2020) is haggis. Burns’ Ode to a Haggis says it all: “…. Great chieftain o the puddin’-race! Aboon them a’ ye tak your place.” Skeptics may become converts if they can manage to get a taste of a well-made haggis. Haggis may not be calming, particularly if accompanied by the sounds of bagpipes; maybe it is the meat. Diligent sleuthing by Weetabix has found a recipe for vegan haggis for those tempted to apostasy: bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-haggis . We await reports from survivors.
So, what is it about sweet puddings that sets them apart from cakes, pies, cookies, and other food forms? In a word: texture. More accurately, organoleptic properties. Puddings are defined by the sensory space between soft, viscous and sticky, with flavours that are reminiscent of our earliest memories of food-derived pleasure. Just as colours have multiple dimensions, mouth-feel needs to be viewed in multiple dimensions. It is actually distinct from taste. Nobody confuses cake with pudding. There are many varieties of pudding-cake; but no matter how well crafted, a delicate confection with refined flavours and crunch does not have pudding’s soul-satisfying capacity to induce feelings of well-being.
Recipes are devoted to the transformation of bread into puddings — all add significant amounts of sugar and fat. Some incorporate fruits or jams — but all avoid a greasy texture while loading as much sugar and fat as possible into the smallest space. Puddings are not light!
And so, back to our green marauder — clearly what he kneads is a pudding. It has been said that he subsists on “sawdust and potatoes”. Taking a trusty rip-saw in hand, Weetabix set to making sawdust from a block of parmesan cheese and went in search guidance for a potato pudding. The simplest required a bit of butter and an egg as well. A boiled and mashed potato with butter and egg plus parmesan sawdust is not bad… but lacks a true pudding feel. Push the boundaries further. Add a bit more butter, sugar, flour, eggs and cream to the potato base, whip it and flavour with some vanilla, and a more generous amount of parmesan sawdust. Bake until it sets and cool so the Green One will not burn his fingers. Top with maple syrup, leave in plain sight… and watch his heart grow.
Happy New Year!
Kudos to Chef Ian Carswell of Black Tartan Kitchen in Carleton Place blacktartankitchen.com , who recently won the Ottawa edition of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, the event known in past years as Gold Medal Plates. Haggis fans take note: the Black Tartan dinner menu lists “Scott-ish” pie as an appetizer…
Happy Local Holidays! - theHumm December 2019
By Kris and Rob Riendeau
Here at theHumm we’re big on local economies. The retail and service businesses in the small towns that we cover play a huge role in the cultural life of those towns. Each store, restaurant, or small enterprise attracts and serves a particular clientele — some inside the community, some from outside. Some businesses host their own special events; others join together with local festivals to make the whole experience more vibrant. Many provide support in cash or in kind to local initiatives. A healthy local economy is an essential component to a healthy community.
It is with this in mi......
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
It has taken both luck and pluck (as in “spirited and determined courage”) for artist Miriam Mas to reach this point in her life. This gifted self-taught artist is reaping the well-got gains of a decidedly anti-Grinch-like life, and it really brightens this reporter’s spirits at a time when a dose of cheer is particularly welcome. (We at theHumm are quite concerned regarding the trending rumour that a certain mean, green grump has been spotted lurking around Missis......
It’s time for a Cabaret my friends! Comedian and award-winning clown Rachelle Elie is back in Almonte to host another fabulous event — and this time it’s a Cabaret! The Almost New Years Rag Bag Cabaret will be held on Saturday, December 28 at 8pm at the lovely Almonte Old Town Hall. This one will be hosted by Rachelle’s alter ego “Susan”, and will feature comedian Cathy Boyd, burlesque trio The Rougettes, international touring musician David Celia and local storyteller Daniel K. L.......
By — Bill Lowe
Christmas isn’t what it used to be.
Humbug to that! It is at the annual Perth Community Christmas Day Dinner at Code’s Mill in downtown Perth.
During the dinner’s almost 30-year history, celebrating Christmas has morphed from pot-luck with a few friends to a tradition that welcomes the whole community. Last year we served more than 320 dinners in the Banquet Hall and delivered 120 more to those who couldn’t join us.
This is a real community event — funded and organ......
Grab your holiday calendar and a red or green pen, and make room for some or all of these upcoming events in Perth.
On Sunday, December 15, Artizen Kombucha will be holding a Festive Kombucha Workshop at their brewery at 12 Gore Street East. They will wear holiday sweaters, have sweet treats and a tea ceremony, and then delve into kombucha making with the participants. You can register and find out more at artizenkombucha.ca
By Miss Mills
Almonte and Pakenham really sparkle in December — and not just from twinkly festive lights. It’s as if they pour all of their small-town heart and soul into filling the month with ways for friends and families to enjoy being together. Here are just some of the events that lead up to the holidays…
On Friday, December 6, you can share warm fuzzy feelings with a few thousand neighbours and friends at Light Up the Night — taking place from 7–10pm in downtown Almonte. Head down to Mill Street and......
With the holiday season on its way, one of the area’s favourite Christmas traditions is set to return to Perth.
On Friday, December 13, Newfoundland’s Juno award-winning Ennis Sisters will take the stage as part of their annual Christmas tour. The sisters, Maureen, Karen and Teresa, deliver one of the finest family Christmas shows in the country and this show is sure to once again be a sell-out.
The trio combine original songs, holiday classics, humorous recitations and Iri......
A Puppy for Christmas - theHumm December 2019
By Glenda Jones
“Ah”, you think, “she’s going to write about getting a puppy from Santa, how cute it was with its little red bow, how it played in the gift wrap, and snuggled with the toys.” No, she’s not!
We are living in chaos most of the time, with doggy toys scattered everywhere, and no end in sight for any sort of home décor that resembles House and Garden. Not only that, little Miss Diva is an escape artist whose idea of spending time in her crate consists of working the zipper loose and getting ou......
One Artful Weekend… - theHumm December 2019
If you take a look at the calendar spread in this issue, you may find it a wee bit difficult to make out all of the listings on December 6, 7 and 8. There is so much going on that we thought we would include a round-up of some of the many art shows and tours taking place that weekend. Here they be!
The West Carleton Arts Society’s $100 and Under Show and Sale brings together more than 25 local artists and artisans at St. Paul’s United Church in Carp, from Friday, December......
By John Pigeau
December is the time of year for goodwill, good cheer and good books, delicious hot chocolate and brisk walks in the wintery air — and maybe some Christmas spirit too. It’s also the only month when it’s ostensibly acceptable to put reindeer antlers on your dog, or to adorn your cat in a Santa hat and scarf. There is, indeed, much merriment to be had. Toasts to be rendered. Eggnog to be glugged. Snow angels to be made. And lots and lots of entertaining and festive things to see and do aroun......
The Station Theatre is proud to welcome Lynn Miles for the final concert of their 2019 music series. This Canadian musician is bringing her Winter concert, along with the Crusty Mittens String Quartet. Check her out at lynnmilesmusic.com .
Lynn Miles was born in Cowansville, Quebec to a father who was a harmonica player and jazz fan and a mother who listened to opera and country music. Miles learned to play the violin, guitar, piano ......
By — Maureen Korp is a writer, historian and lecturer
Long before the Scots, French and English fur traders arrived in the St. Lawrence, Great Lakes and Hudson Bay areas, the Eastern Woodlands women of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples were ......
By — Sally Smith
David Taylor is a quilter, just a quilter. That’s what he calls himself… but when you look at his work and talk to those who learn from him, it’s clear he’s not “just a quilter.”
He’s fun, sh......
Giving the Gift of Real Estate Buy Wild Land for your Friends and Relatives! - theHumm December 2019
By — Cathy Keddy
Starting to think about Christmas shopping? This year keep it simple — give the gift of life. Be the first person to give your friend or family member a home for a wild turtle, frog or songbird!
Bonnie Lowry Bagshaw was born and raised in the local area and likes to give back to the community. As the first Chair of Almonte General Hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC), ......
New Name for Hospice Hub Hospice Palliative Care Becomes Home Hospice North Lanark - theHumm December 2019
We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where there is still a strong tradition of neighbours looking out for each other. One example of that tradition began in early 2012, when members o......
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark Country recently opened their third Jewel’s Gently Used Clothing Store — this one in Carleton Place.
Jewel’s offers modestly priced, gently used clothi......
Sep 1 - Oct 30 Transition: Ginny Fobert, Judi Miller, Dayle VanAlstine
Sep 24 - Oct 24 Private Art Collection
Oct 19 Doug van der Horden
Oct 21 Jazz Night w/Spencer Evans
Oct 23 Jeff Callery
Oct 23 - 24 Red Trillium Studio Tour
Oct 26 Bon Evans & Dave Bull
Oct 28 Al Lerman
Oct 29 Matt Dickson
- Keith Busher — Art Advocate & Provocateur, Gallery Owner and Curator
- Romp, Stomp & Chomp! Thanksgiving Art Tour in Mississippi Mills
- One Day Only Open Studio Art by Catherine Orfald and Rita Redner
- More Music at MERA!
- From Quiet to Concerts Almonte in Concert Returns to Old Town Hall This Fall
- Leave the Leaves (and other counter-intuitive suggestions)
- Rural Root Goes Fishing! The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby
- Fall Colours Walk at Blueberry Mountain
- Red Trillium Fall Tour
- Pumpkins-Plus in Perth Ghost Walks, Pumpkin Carving and More!