As I write this letter, I know that some of you will already have turned away, swayed as you are by the media’s representation of supporters of traditional Christmas desserts as conservative blowhards who just need to get with the times. But if you’ve lasted past the headline, do stick with me, and soon you will understand why we should, as Australians, all vote no to pavlova at Christmas and return to the traditional dessert of Christmas pudding with custard.
For those of us who value a traditional Christmas dessert and are dismayed by the casual acceptance of pavlova, I’d like to say you’re not alone. I stand with you, and it’s time to say no. No to cookbooks featuring pavlovas, all made pretty and acceptable to sell, some of which you might even find under your Christmas tree. No to cooking shows, some of which don’t even mention a traditional Christmas pudding in their eagerness to show how “progressive” they are with their beaten eggs and cream.
Time to say no to school cooking classes teaching our Australian children that pavlova is just as appropriate for a Christmas dessert as pudding. Did you know that my son’s teacher even told him that he could make a Pavlova and serve it for Christmas, totally ignoring that we are a traditional dessert family, and undermining our values. It’s deplorable how sneaky pavlova lovers can be.
I get it. You like pavlova. Some of you are allergic to the wheat in flour, and some of you just don’t like those weird little bits of peel, and others among you might just like both, but there’s something so selfish about the way that you expect other people to cater for your dietary preferences as though they’re normal and okay.
And it’s not as though I’m going to make you eat the Christmas pudding. You do have a choice here. You can have Christmas pudding or you can have nothing for dessert. Totally up to you, and totally legitimate choices. I’m not even saying pavlova is a bad thing. You can have your pavlova, and you can even have it at Christmas. Just not for dessert. You can wait a few hours and eat it later, or have it the next day if you like, as long as you’re not cheapening the pudding I made by trying to serve it for dessert. Call it supper, or morning tea. Just not dessert. It’s close enough to the same thing anyway, isn’t it? And be happy that I’m allowing you to serve pavlova at all. Back in my mother’s day, it would have been unheard of.
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Christmas pudding is traditional. I mean, we have always served pudding at Christmas. At least since Victorian times, which is close enough. And the bible makes it clear that Jesus is pro-fruit. There was that one time that he cursed a fig tree when it didn’t have any figs on it, and there are mentions of fruit all through the bible.
He didn’t say a single thing in favour of meringue. And before you pavlova-lovers start insisting that not saying anything bad about meringue means he’s okay with it, let me stop you right there, because there is a definite anti-pav reference in the book of Exodus. If you can’t eat meat and dairy together, and you can’t prove to me that your eggs are pareve, well, it’s pretty obvious that by carefully cherry-picking my argument and stretching biblical rules to make them mean what I want them to mean, that pavlova is off the table.