February 12 – Plum Pudding Day
Now, here’s a national food day that I have no idea exists in February. Plum Pudding is a typical dessert made of plums, sugar, spices, and sometimes brandy or other rich liquors, and is most closely associated with the Christmas season, and has been since medieval times. It’s so well-known as a Christmas dish that Wikipedia’s entry on plum pudding is named “Christmas Pudding.” Which begs the question: who the hell picked February 12 as Plum Pudding Day? Because of the ingredients and the way traditional plum puddings are cooked (slow-steamed for hours), you can theoretically keep your plum pudding long after you’ve made it in the winter; Wikipedia even suggests that it can be saved for another celebration at Easter. However, it’s my opinion that if you’re eating your Christmas pudding almost two months after Christmas, let alone a whole season, something is terribly wrong. 😛
Like I said, the traditional way to make a plum pudding was to add all of the ingredients–an ever-changing blend of dried fruits, suet, and spices, basically anything sumptuous and yummy that was hanging around Victorian kitchens–and slow-steam them for hours to get the right consistency. It makes for an easy dish to make while slaving away in a 19th century kitchen all day, but not for a busy New Yorker who needs her national food holiday fix while on the way from the train station to work. So, what’s the modern American solution to a slow-cooked Victorian tradition?
Why, deep fry it, of course.
And the Park Slope Chip Shop has done just that. Their vats of oil are always full-steam (or full-fry?) ahead, as they specialize in deep-fried everything: fish, sausage, bananas, pizza, and of course, the ubiquitous French fry, or as they’re known in England (see a trend?), chips. Basically they’ll deep fry anything you bring to them, which is one of their selling points, and it has become a comfort food staple in the neighborhood. And, as they’ll fry basically anything on their menu, you guessed it…they deep fry your plum pudding. You may look askance, but the patrons rave about it, the deep frying giving it a firm, almost crunchy crust, with the sweet pudding warm and nestled in the middle. It’s definitely a new spin on an old classic, and one that’s worth splurging on in February–instead of waiting around to eat it on Christmas.
Park Slope Chip Shop
383 5th Ave (between 6th St & 7th St), Brooklyn