There’s only a brief window of opportunity each year to make a summer pudding with English fruit. Black and red currants aren’t in season for long, though the different varieties of raspberries take us well through to the autumn, with the odd break. No one in the family likes it as much as I do, and it is not often worth ordering in a restaurant. They are too often tempted to put in strawberries or cherries, which just don’t add the required tang and, understandably but annoyingly, they usually make little individual puddings, which make the proportion of bread to fruit far too high.
You may have surmised from this preamble what we had for pudding for our Sunday dinner. Everyone else enjoyed it moderately, although it was generally agreed that the best way to eat it is to swallow the currants whole to avoid the seeds. I protested at this, as I love seeds. Particularly raspberry seeds, and especially when one discovers one in a deep recess of a tooth an hour or two later and has a tasty nibble. Furthermore, as I continued to enthuse to the gathered family, I love apple skin. If I peel an apple, I eat the flesh and then enjoy the flavoursome skin most of all. And if you have peeled the whole fruit in a spiral, rather than quartered, there is an extra pleasure in not breaking the long piece.
I broke off and looked around. As usual, they were all politely bemused. “Have you noticed” I added “how delicious orange pith is?”
When I was a child, I was much too polite and shy to spit out cherry stones. But, liking cherries, I used to swallow them instead. It was not so easy to get down plum stones, but I managed it once in a while. The old wives’ tale says that this gives you appendicitis – indeed, one was recommended not even to eat apple and orange pips whole. However, this old wife has not come to any harm yet; I didn’t believe it then and have no reason to now.
Times have changed and I have too. When the schoolchildren visited, one of them fished an interesting object out of the pond. “”What is this, it’s got a line all round it?” I examined the little item and identified it as an elderly cherrystone. “Sometimes” I admitted, “we hold cherrystone spitting contests out of the window. We’re not a well behaved family, I don’t recommend you copy us.”