Sylvia, "Aunty Pud" was an
administrator over a hospital for the elderly mentally disabled. She was a
psychiatric nurse. In 1960 we stayed in her home for a short time there on
the old converted military base. This was only until we were settled in
our own home.
The house where she lived
had been built for the ranking officer who was over the base and it was
beautifully arranged. There were wide over hanging eves making it possible
to leave windows open even if it was raining. Though it did have a
military severeness to it as far as not being ornately decorated the house
was still very adequate for easy living. The screened in back porch off
the master bedroom was a pleasant room. We were able to enjoy this. If the
rooms were not overly decorated they made up for this in size. There was
plenty of room and there was no skimping along these lines. The great room
with the fireplace was probably to enable entertaining by the officer and
his wife at one time.
Aunty Pud gave me the
privilege of using her library while we were there, and this is where I
was able to do research with the many books written by doctors on the
patterns and problems of disabled children. With the knowledge gleaned I
was able to deal with my child's birth injury and resulting Cerebral
Palsy. There were other conditions discussed also of children who were in
various situations as to their injuries with whom we came into association
later. The study made it easier to understand and deal with their problems
Aunty Pud was a highly
intelligent woman. Somehow, whatever forces to govern us were kind to me
and brought me under her direction for just long enough for me to benefit
and to be able to cope. The books I poured over gave me an understanding
and respect for the learned doctors who recorded the many different
children's problems and with that child's particular involvement. It was
there I was given the revelation that doctors like all people come in many
different hats. If I did not have this knowledge, it would have been an
even greater handicap we were up against. As it was, I memorized the
doctor's names, although I can't remember them now, and what they wrote.
Later I was able to draw from their knowledge, calling it up when I needed
We have Aunty's picture on
her birthday with her brother's and sisters honoring a loved sister, one
who cared for them after their own mother passed away. She was fun loving
in taking the role of "the queen." In this picture.
Aunty Pud was a wonderful
cook and this was how she relaxed. I remember her being able to use herbs
and spices with skill. She had a recipe that had been passed down from the
English side of the family. It was called "English Pudding" and was
traditionally served at Christmas time. Here is the recipe:
Gramma's English Pudding
Finely grated rind of one
½ cup chopped mixed citron
½ pound each raisens, dried currents, and yellow raisens
½ pound beef suet or unsalted butter
½ pound fresh bread crumbs
½ pound firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup brandy, dark rum, or medium dry sherry
½ cup milk
1. Butter well a 2-quart
steamed pudding mold or heat-proof bowl.
2. In a bowl, combinethe
lemon rind, chopped citron, raisens, currants, yellow raisens, suet, bread
crumbs, brown sugar, flour allspice, and salt. In another bowl whisk
together the eggs, ½ cup of the brandy, rum, or sherry, and the milk. Stir
the egg mixture with the fruit mixture until well combined. Transfer to
the mold, press the mixture down, cover with wax paper and foil, and
secure with string.
3. Transfer the mold to a
large pan fitted with a rack. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway
up the side of the mold and bring water to a boil, covered, on side of the
mold and bring water to a boil, covered, on the stove. Lower heat to a low
simmer and cook for 5 hours, adding more boiling water as necessary.
4. Transfer the mold to a
rack to cook. Recover with wax paper and foil and secure with string.
Store for at least six weeks in a cool, dark place.
To reheat, follow step 3,
but allow the pudding to simmer for only 2 ½ hours. Transfer to a rack,
remove covering, run a thin knife around the inside of the mold and invert
the pudding onto a warm serving plate. Warm the remaining brandy, rum, or
sherry in a pan or ladle and ignite it. While it is still flaming, pour it
over the Christmas pudding and serve with Brandy Butter.
Note: You can use beef or
vegetarian suet. If you're concerned about the calorie count or want to
make a lighter pudding, use half the quality of suet.
Some people who do not care
for the alcohol taste make a lemon sauce to pour over instead without the
flaming of the dessert.
Auntie Pud had no children
and without the saving of this recipe the tradition in this branch of the
Flood family would be lost.