What The Heck Is Figgy Pudding?

What The Heck Is Figgy Pudding?

"Now bring us some figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer!"
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What the heck is figgy pudding?

Anyone who sings the song, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” around Christmas time sings the lyrics, “Now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us some figgy pudding, and a cup of good cheer.” But what is figgy pudding? I never knew what this was growing up, and I had never met anyone who actually did know what it was. So, here’s to all of you out there who were just like me.

Figgy pudding, also called plum pudding and Christmas pudding, is a popular Christmas dessert in Britain, which is how it ended up in the jolly Christmas tune we sing today. It’s a staple on a British Christmas menu, but is rarely eaten in the United States. Its original number of ingredients (thirteen) represented Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles, so the dish carries a symbolic meaning to the Brits around Christmas time.

First, let’s establish what “pudding” is. Over in England, pudding doesn’t refer to the creamy deliciousness inside of a snack-pack that Americans know and love. It refers to any dessert, so Christmas pudding, a type of cake, fits this label.

Though this cake’s names would lead you to guess what it is made of, it does not always contain figs or plums. Figs were historically incorporated in the recipe, but are occasionally left out of modern ingredient lists. The term “plum” used to be a generic term for any dried fruit, which is how this particular nickname came to be, since the cake does contain lots of raisins.

A figgy pudding is a steamed cake (those two words don’t seem like they go together) filled with brandy, dried fruits, and fresh fruits. A steamed cake is quite literally a cake that is steamed instead of baked, and the brandy contributes greatly to the flavor of the “pudding.”

This dessert is often made from scratch, and the process is very labor-intensive. The alcohol in the cake is meant to age for a couple of weeks to draw out more flavor, so it needs to be prepared in advance. Christmas hosts across Britain are already at work on their cakes and are letting the brandy soak to create figgy deliciousness.

Oh, and another thing about Christmas pudding? You can set it on fire. You can light this cake up Baked-Alaska-style. If that doesn’t scream Christmas cheer, I don’t know what will.

You now know what the heck the lyrics of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” are talking about. You can run and tell all of your friends that you know a bit of Christmas trivia that they probably don’t know. You can also sing the song with a sly smirk, knowing that you’ve read up on the overlooked meaning of the words.

And, if you’re really curious and patient and want to try out this Christmas staple for yourself, you can click on the link below for a recipe from BBC.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/851637/figgy-christmas-pudding

Happy holidays!

(Source: www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/20/460488236/...)

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:” Line Matters,

I want to start off by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can’t afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you’re just lazy and you “don’t feel like it”? Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you’re unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the US Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck.” stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:” line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can’t seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to ten people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!”

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the seventeen other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there’s a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 dollar bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of ten times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession - whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food, and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a forty dollar bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes - as if you’re better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you’ll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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My Journey As A Vegan

I would say a vegan joke, but it's not cheesy enough.

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It has been almost a decade since I first transitioned into a vegan, beginning my journey when I was only ten years old. After three years of being a vegetarian, I decided to take the leap and completely remove animal products from my life. This was a decision that, fortunately, my family supported and eventually even joined me in, which is not the case for many people who pursue a vegan lifestyle. Although it is one of the best decisions I have made, it has not always been easy.

When I first became a vegan, one of my main goals was the same for most people: to lose weight. Although I was around 10 years old at the time, I was quite aware that I was chubby for my age. I dealt with insecurities regarding my weight for my entire life, so I hoped a new diet could help fix the issue.

Of course, I did not get the results I was looking for right away. My extended tummy did not transform overnight into a six-pack (I'm still waiting for that transition to occur, unfortunately).

A vegan diet does not mean simply eliminating all animal products but instead replacing the nutrients you once received from dairy and eggs. In other words, my diet of potato chips and coconut milk based ice cream was not going to work.

Eventually, after doing my research, I slowly found my body changing. Not only was I able to lose some baby fat, but I began physically feeling better. The heavy weight of a cheese pizza no longer nauseated me at night, the acne on my back cleared up, and I noticed my energy levels staying elevated throughout the day. Even though my journey began at a young age, these benefits still apply today (although I may need that extra latte now and then).

As I grew older and continued this diet, I began to realize that becoming vegan is not just a dietary change, but a lifestyle change. It affected every aspect of my existence, including my social life.

As a child, none of my fellow peers really knew what the term "vegan" meant. All they knew was that I didn't eat ice cream cake at birthday parties and my lunch bag didn't include Cosmic Brownies like everyone else.

By the time I entered high school, being a vegan had finally become trendy. It was the new fad, and for a month or two, I had someone to go on a lunch date with when my friends experimented with the diet. As someone from a suburban town, though, becoming vegan was not as popular as I hoped it would be. Most people immediately assumed I was a "radical vegan," screaming at the sight of a hot dog and shaming everyone who even looked at a grilled cheese sandwich. People around me were actually more accepting of my diet when I was in elementary school than when I was a junior in high school. Once I mentioned to a new friend that I was a vegan (which I started to refrain from bringing up until it was absolutely necessary), I was viewed as cruel and judgmental.

On top of this, it became harder and harder to go out with my friends to eat. As a kid, my Mom could make me and my friend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we would both be satisfied, but the local fast food places that teenagers love to go to aren't quite as accommodating and often don't have many options. Unless I was looking to order a Caesar salad without dressing every Friday night, there wasn't much out there for me.

This put me at a social disadvantage because the act of rejoicing in a savory meal is one of the main sources of human connection. People bond over food, and if I wasn't eating (or wasn't enjoying what I was eating), I didn't really feel like I was part of the group.

It was around this period in my life where my supportive family came to save the day.

At this point, both of my parents and one of my older sisters were now vegans, along with my fellow vegetarian sister. Together, we found a few vegan restaurants that the small state of Connecticut has to offer and discovered some gems in the surrounding New England area. From non-dairy soft-serve ice cream to 100% plant-based restaurants that even my carnivorous brother could enjoy, everywhere we went had something for all of us. These types of places prove that tofu isn't as bland as everyone thinks.

This brings us to the present, where I will soon be celebrating my 10-year friendaversary with my fellow plants. I hope as time progresses, less and less people exclaim with disgust when they see the tempeh sandwich I packed for lunch, while more and more people at least consider experimenting with different cruelty-free options. Perhaps the change does not have to strictly concern one's diet, but even the make-up and hair products we use in our everyday lives. Once in a while, maybe you can even consider just glancing at those meatless patties in the frozen section of the grocery store.

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