The black pudding festival of my Youth

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If ever there were scents of lingering on in old age, nothing in my memory lingers more than the aroma of my mother’s fried up black pudding on a cold winter’s night. It seems as if from yesterday.  Before I wax on any further about the delights of this fare, let me give a short definition of what this delicacy entails.

It is a kind of robust fare made from a mixture of herbs and spices, including cloves, pepper, salt , bay leaf or more, mixed with pig’s fat and…its main ingredient…blood. I sometimes wonder if, in the mythological tales of those vampires busy with bloodletting back in 1734 Romania, the basic recipe of black pudding was not born.

In any case, we are lucky that the recipe has survived, irrespective of fangs stuck in someone’s main throat artery or not. We all make the best of life, and vampires did not ask to be born with that addiction. Drinking fresh blood was the quintessential ingredient and affliction of Dracula as well.  Just imagine a world without Dracula? Well, actually, I can. I never felt the slightest interest in Vampires sucking blood, being more of a blood giver.

Anyway, I am off subject.

Oh yes, those scents of yesteryears. How come roses smelt stronger? One just brushed past a tomato on its truss and one almost passed out with its fragrance. This seems to have disappeared. Are scientists developing faster growing bigger produce and sacrificing scents or are my smelling patches going downhill? Our olfactory skills are pretty feeble compared for instance with a bloodhound but we are all born with between 3 or 4 million smelling receptors. The blood hound has 220 million give or take a few million.

We taste food with our nose more than by mouth as our mouth is only capable with tasting sour, sweet, salt and bitter. The rest of taste is done by our olfactory receptors high up our nose. Perhaps that’s why our nose is above our mouth, seeing that smells go upwards!

It seems unfair that women outdo men in the smell department as well as in the shopping department. Does that explain men can’t get away with leaving the shower till next week or wearing day socks to bed? I always counter complaints about my smells to H with ‘that just born babies have shown to prefer the unwashed breast to the freshly soaped one.’ I further enhance the well known proven theory, that humans find their mate through smelling each other’s arm pits’ pheromones and that the daily shower is now seen by many ‘experts’ as being the final death-knell in many a marriage. She, very sadly, doesn’t accept that and sniffs disapprovingly and (cruelly) turns her back.

The black pudding scent was brutally brought back yesterday when doing our shopping at Aldi’s supermarket. I like to linger at the butter-cheese and small-goods division while H takes the opportunity to, very casually, saunter around and inspect sheets, pillow slips, toothpaste or brush-ware, deodorants isles. As my gaze left the Stilton cheese the unsalted butter and moved slowly upwards, what did I spot next to the buttermilk and bacon; ‘black pudding’ in all its glorious white speckled with fat and dark blood- brown luster. I nearly cried with the memory of it all flooding back. My nostrils were in overtime, quivering like a fierce bloodhound in the snow just metres away from his rabbit.

Aldi is a very German-Euro slanted shopping phenomenon specializing in foods and goods that migrants from Europe sink to their knees before bedtime and pray to be able to buy again.  Black pudding has always been high on my list but I stop short on offering prayer.

This morning, at the crack of dawn at around 5.30 am I was up frying black pudding while making our first coffee.  It was early for H’s coffee, but what the hell; I had showered the night before. As I opened the door to pass H her coffee, she very sleepily said; “what is that strange smell?” “Its freshly brewed coffee darling”, I said. “No, it smells dark and brooding”, H answered with a puckered nose. “Oh, I said,” feigning ignorance, “could it be the cloves in the black pudding. Would you like a slice?”

Helvi does not like black pudding. I gave her slice to our Jack Russell ‘Milo.’

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22 Responses to “The black pudding festival of my Youth”

  1. Elisabeth Says:

    I relish black pudding, fried alongside fresh apple slices. My Dutch origins I suspect. We ate it often when I was a child.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Helvi tells me her mother used to mix blood from slaughtered animal with flour, salt and pepper and make blood-pancakes. She never ate them.
      I like my pancakes sweet with golden syrup.
      I love black pudding or Bloedworst in Dutch. I don’t understand why in English it is called pudding. There is Yorkshire Pudding but to me it is removed from pudding which I relate to something sweet.
      People in England go out for a ‘pudding’ and order tea and scones. Very odd.

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  2. auntyuta Says:

    I like well spiced “Blutwurst” with lots of barley in it. Heat it in hot water and eat it with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. This was one of my favourite dishes as a kid.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We always had it fried in big slices. It was spicey and delicious with sauerkraut. It would also be full of iron, I imagine.
      I have had it now three days running for breakfast, so will give it a break tomorrow morning.

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  3. auntyuta Says:

    If it’s not spicy enough I like to add some mustard. Peter did eat the left over Aldi wurst the other day. He had it cold, cut in slices on some bread with mustard on top.
    I think next time I’ll try to fry this black pudding. It may taste better fried than just heated in water. This Aldi ring for four Dollars is just a bit too much for two people to eat in one go. I really don’t like to eat too much of it. I hope it’s beneficial for replenishing iron, same as livers. We had chicken livers today. Peter complained I didn’t eat enough of it. But who can eat more than one chicken liver? I certainly can’t. I added plenty of curry and a bit of red wine as well as a lot of fried onions. We had red cabbage and potatoes with it.
    Peter fried his livers without any curry but wit duck’s fat which I can’t stand the taste of. But he also had plenty of fried onions and of course the red cabbage and potatoes. I fried my portion in olive oil.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I would try it fried. I never heard of boilings sausages. I would eat more than just one chicken liver. In fact, Peter is probably more on my level of intake of food. Ah ,duck’s fat. I am almost ready to fry our left over onions and potatoes with beetroot and yoghurt in Duck’s fat right now. It is a bit late though and I don’t like rolling around with indigestion.
      It is 11,15pm, too late for any more food. Good night!

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  4. auntyuta Says:

    Peter and I saw “Borgen” tonight. Ah, party politics. The Danes show us how it is and how it effects people, Great acting.
    The Australian Movie “Lou” is recording now so we can watch it tomorrow. Good night!

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Borgen is excellent TV and we make sure the evening is free. The Danish Government seems to do things different and at least don’t seem to be afflicted by ‘order, order’ all the time.
      If a minister doen’t behave in Denmark you are made to resign.

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  5. Andrew Says:

    Beautifully tender writing,Gerard. I’m not a black pudding man but my father liked it. I am more taken with the conundrum how come roses smelt stronger. I remember my father growing all sorts of roses, many for their perfume specifically. We could walk I into the garden and the scent would blow your socks off lavender too. It doesn’t seem the same nowadays. Roses don’t do well in HK but if I could have one thing from 50 years ago it would be a rose garden.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Andrew,
      You seemed to have had an interesting trip to Cambodia and I loved you descriptions and photos.
      Is it good to be back home in HK?

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      • Andrew Says:

        Gerard, somewhat belated I fear but yes, it is good to be home. I think it is irrelevant where home is, I just like my own bed and comforts and to be back with the family. Lulu is completely indifferent to my return unless I am feeding her. 😥

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  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    You are correct Gerard & Andrew. They have been breeding the scent out of the hybrid roses in favor of larger blooms. I am ambivalent about the blood pudding, having only eaten a slice or two when traveling. Maybe it’s the idea of the blood! I loved the memories Gerard.

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  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you Kayti. Memories of smells are pervasive. One can taste things just by memorising them. I remember going through the dunes lining the coast in Holland and coming across a wild rose every now and then. A simple bloom but the scent, unforgettable.

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  8. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I read this post yesterday from my ‘Smart phone’ which is clearly so bloody smart that it wouldn’t let me ‘like’ it or ‘comment’ hence the delay in responding.

    Black pudding – in one word YUM. I had some the other day in Bali and it was very good. I hate to think of what was in it but I ate it nonetheless and it was very tasty.

    So that’s the black pudding sorted and now the roses. My mother was a great rose enthusiast. In the summer the garden was a mass of roses – climbers, standards, tea, floribunda, hybrids, and old-fashioned frilly knicker looking ones. The scent was out of this world. Speaking of which, the best bottled rose scent that I’ve come across is Jo Malone’s Red Roses – I swear it’s the closest that you can get to the real thing. Maybe a dab or two behind the ears Gerard if black pudding doesn’t do the trick?

    Like Andrew, I miss having roses in my life too.

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  9. Jayde-Ashe Says:

    I think it is criminal that they have bred the scent out of roses! Our garden is full of roses (we live in a rental) but only one of them, in the entire garden, has that old-fashioned intoxicating scent. I love it. I can have a bunch in the kitchen and smell it as soon as I come through the front door…
    As for the black pudding, my boyfriend is a butcher so I have no choice but to embrace meat as a staple of our diet. I am still wary of black pudding but fried up with enough onion and garlic and I can pretend it’s chorizo🙂
    Thanks for visiting my blog, I can see that I will enjoy yours!

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Jayde:
      Thanks for gracing my blog. Having a butcher for boyfriend would be a dream come true. Although, yesterday on TV a small village in Japan was featured. It had numerous people over 100 years old.
      One man over 105 claimed to have always eaten fresh vegetable only. I tried it for a few days, but the hunger was agonising.
      We eat fish twice a week and I don’t mind sardines and love my anchovies.
      I could easily have married a fisher woman. I can just imagine going to bed with a bunch of smoked eels. yummm. As it is I am with a very lovely one from Finland who eats everything except black pudding.

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  10. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I am from German/French parents. I know about what we called blood sausage but my parents made liver sausage which I did not eat even as a child. But enjoy the “pudding.” I am sure that your dog loved the treat and licked his chops.🙂

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I suppose liver wurst is another word for pate (accent). The French are masters of making pate de foie gras and the Germans highly skilled in the sausage world. The best of both worlds.You inherited some good genes.

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  11. Patti Kuche Says:

    Early morning coffee and the sizzle of black pudding, what’s not to like!

    Saw this just the other day http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2340320/Aldi-named-Grocer-Year-huge-efforts-attracting-Middle-Britain-shoppers.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Good news at last. I’ll tell my H, she is sipping her first coffee right now,( languidly waking up.)
      We are Aldi groupies and just about live there. They are the ones selling black pudding. What community spirit, what a social conscience! I feel euphoria coming on.

      Like

  12. Office Diva Says:

    Now here’s a dish after my own heart…..literally. I first met up with black pudding (black and white pudding, to be precise) in Ireland at a lovely little B&B outside of Newgrange. I was in loooove. A few years ago, I found an Irish Pub in Las Vegas that served an awesome breakfast; I miss that place terribly. Now whenever I want black and white pudding, I have to go across the Pond to Scotland or Ireland. This is an expensive solution to my dilemma. I’m thinking that black pudding is what the Klingons keep going on and on about with their Klingon Blood Pie…….What say you? Thanks for making me hungry! Enjoyed your post.

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