This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #147

Culinary no-no's

For this week’s installment of Culinary no-no, I beg your indulgence.

Aww, hell.


Just play along, will ya?

Click and play the following, and if you can’t/ won’t/refuse to listen to the short video/audio, you (fuddy duddy) can dump out after :40, OK?


Now, for one of the few times Bing (What do you mean I wasn’t a good father?) Crosby is relevant during the year….


Let’s go to the tape.

Bing sang:

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; 
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; 
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer

Figgy pudding?

Just what the hell is that?

And you won't go until you get some?

This had better be good.

Alright, alright already!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, if you didn't know before, This Just In is here to inform you that THIS is figgy pudding:

Still confused?


"Figgy pudding is a traditional steamed British pudding. Figs, dried ones (in the recipe below, fresh figs are used) go into figgy pudding. So do nuts, dates, bread crumbs, spices and more. You mix it all up and put it in a pudding mold. You put the pudding mold in a large pan (like a roasting pan or casserole) and fill the pan with hot water to cover the bottom 1/3 of the mold. This "water bath" will help the pudding cook evenly and keep it from scorching. Baking the pudding takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Then presto, change-o: Figgy pudding! Though it's actually more like a cake.

First created in the 1400's, figgy pudding became popular as a Christmas tradition in Victorian England in the mid 1800's; the setting of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Why would you want to eat one today? Well, traditions, edible and otherwise, tend to make people feel good. It’s that comfort food thing. And the figs in figgy pudding hold lots of good fiber and nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium.

I'm told if you like Fig Newtons, Christmas flavors and smells, you'll like figgy pudding."

That's nice, but not good enough.

There's more.


"The reason that it's in such high demand, however, has to do with some of its (inedible) ingredients.

Coins, rings and other trinkets were often hidden in the bowls of Christmas pudding and each supposedly predicted their recipient's fortune for the coming year. For example, if you found a coin, you would become wealthy. If you found a ring, you'd get married ... and so on. Think of it like an Old English fortune cookie."


So figgy pudding has stuff jammed into it.

It’s kind of like the poor sap who desperately calls the Butterball Hotline on Thanksgiving Day morning, begging for instructions on how to place his sweetheart’s engagement ring in the bird’s cavity.

How romantic.

Or, it’s like the occasional client of an ambulance chaser that bit into a fast food item and got more than he/she bargained for (CUE THE OBLIGATORY ADVERB, NEWSPEOPLE) allegedly.

My guess is most of you don’t normally serve up figgy pudding for Christmas. It’s a big deal in the land of Dickens.  But even in contemporary London, evil trial lawyers have reared their ugly heads.

At High Timber Restaurant in London, the sacred figgy pudding is also considered risky, or at least the proprietors have been told by the trial lawyers.

Diners who wish to indulge on this holiday treat are being asked to sign a waiver that they won't sue in the event of a chipped tooth, etc.

A Christmas pudding that contains a silver lucky charm is pictured next to a 'Diner Indemnity Form' at the High Timber restaurant in London. Photo: Carl Court, AFP/Getty Images

The form customers have to sign states:

I the undersigned realise that by eating this Christmas Pudding at High Timber restaurant, London, I could bite into a lucky silver sixpence or silver charm.I absolve entirely High Timber from all blame or liability should I come to any harm including but not limited to a chipped tooth, or any injury as a result of swallowing it.

I eat this Christmas Pudding in the full knowledge there may be silver items within.

Signed……………………………………….  Print Name………………………………………

Now can you imagine having a wonderful rouladen dinner at Mader’s and you’re all set to order some Linzer Torte and your server says you have to pledge not to call your attorney before your pastry is brought to the table?

Talk about losing your appetite.

This is insane.

And it’s all thanks to our lawyers.

Now would someone please pass the trifle.


More from the Brits.

Alan Pierce writes in the Telegraph that health and safety are killing Christmas:

This year, your Christmas will have been risk-assessed to within an inch of its life. New safety legislation is in place that puts the onus for health and safety on individuals rather than the organisations they work for. Now, anyone who puts the public in 'danger' faces two years in jail or an unlimited fine.

The result has been to put every public body, from schools to department stores, on full red alert. Forget about the council de-icing our slippery roads – there are traffic roundabouts and lampposts that need risk-assessing.

Examples of festive health and safety madness are stacking up like presents under the tree.”

Read the entire piece.


According to these women, "cookie exchanges are lame."

And in case you missed Culinary no-no #146 that we slipped in during the middle of last week...

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