Victoria Hawkins' Week: The Pud Crisis

What would you think then? Having asked my ma round for supper the other evening and apologised for the fact it probably wouldn't be very interesting, just spag bol or something like that, do you know what she said? “That's all right, I'm going out for a good lunch.

What would you think then? Having asked my ma round for supper the other evening and apologised for the fact it probably wouldn't be very interesting, just spag bol or something like that, do you know what she said? “That's all right, I'm going out for a good lunch.”

Which wouldn't have been quite so bad if not for the fact that only two weeks before that my sister managed to diss my cooking abilities as well. Thing is, we're planning this big family reunion on my late pa's side and a 70-strong shindig is being held down in Surrey in a couple of week's time.

Testament to strong family ties and the interest being shown is the fact that we've got cousins flying in from as far away as New York and New Zealand and the ages range from around the 90-mark to birth minus two months. We're particularly excited to be meeting without a funeral being involved for a change.

A couple of cousins who were both once BOAC (latterly BA) air hostesses - one of whom then went on to set up her own catering company - are masterminding the main course; the host brother and eldest cousin have already booze-cruised over to France for the vino and us minor UK-based cousinettes have been enlisted to produce some puds.


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Which brings me to the Great Pudding Crisis. I emailed catering cousins to say I'd got my pinny on and rolling pin ready, was it freestyle or had they got a master plan. Meanwhile my sister rings to chivvy me up and asks what I'm cooking. Knowing my talent with home-made millefeuilles is a little limited (though my meringues are spot on but rather done to death), I'd toyed with going off-piste and rustling up a catering-size sticky toffee pudding which is easy if you bake it in a big tin.

“Oh,” she said, “we don't want anything too complicated.” “It's not,” I breezed. “But it'll need heating up and things…” she countered. By which time I'd got the drift - she doesn't think much of my cooking either. However the crisis is now averted and you'll never guess how.

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My ma's stepped in and said she's decided I'm far too busy working full-time to make anything at all. Spookily she's offered to do my pud as well as her own, which is absolutely great but at the back of my mind I still don't know exactly what that says about my grub!

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