The January Pile-Up.

You wait for weeks for just the right pudding, then suddenly they all appear at once. With the Christmas holidays over, my cupboards are groaning with gifts and goodies. No longer is pudding a treat: it’s a necessity. There’s almost no room to store anything else.

In the last few days, my boyfriend and I have acquired the remainder of the chocolate pumpkin cheesecake (plus a bowl full of the filling), a tin of homemade meringues (a Christmas gift from his mother to me), two packets of M&S dessert cookies, butterscotch-covered nuts, praline sauce,  a hefty bag of dark chocolate buttons, and numerous boxes of chocolate and biscuits. All this on top of the pre-existing log of florentine butter, vat of homemade lemon curd, and slowly diminishing pile of Pop Tarts.

I’m starting to think that I  might have a problem – some kind of pud-hoarding obsession. With the kitchen already chock-a-block, last night I bought eight cartons of rice pudding (to be eaten imminently) and three jars of cheap mincemeat. I had to be dragged from the store before I snaffled some marked-down cartons of cream. It pains me to resist a bargain.

Later, having repented for my splurge, I lay awake wondering how best to deal with this mountain. ‘Eat it!’ you might shout, but it’s not that simple.

For starters, I have to tread carefully. If I gorge on these puddings too quickly, not only will I not enjoy them, but my pancreas will pack its bags and slither from my body. No. A stockpile like this requires forward-planning: get the timing wrong, and something will go mouldy. So. Let’s do logistics. The rice puddings and cheesecake have got to go first, so that’s the next few days sorted. I want the meringues while they’re still fresh and crispy – so maybe I’ll mix them with big blobs of curd… or praline sauce… or a tub of melted chocolate. I have grand plans for the mincemeat too – but as it’s sealed, those plans can wait. As for the chocolates and biscuits, I expect they will sweeten my lunchtime for weeks to come.

When puddings have deadlines, it can be stressful. They’re supposed to be special, after all – no one wants wants to feel that they’re compulsory.  Then again, anything’s better than throwing food away: there’s nothing more heinous than that.

I’m sure we’ll get through it, eventually. I’ll just have to force myself not to get anything else…


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