Or, how to spend half your life in the kitchen.
Some years my DH will make a fruitcake. Some years he'll pick one up at Costco, where they have one that's pretty decent. Last year I bought a traditional English plum pudding from Allyson's Kitchen in Ashland. We used to have them every year but got into the fruitcake thing. Here's the thing - the one I bought last year was pretty small and cost $18. Next year, I thought, I'll shop around online for a better deal.
No such thing. They are expensive wherever they're from and if they're not, the shipping costs make it so. With the exchange rate being so bad against the dollar, stuff coming from the UK is prohibitively expensive. So I suggested to the DH that 'we' make our own (he's the cook in our family, as most of you know).
What... a.... flippin'.... production. OMG. Holy cow.
He's been working on this thing since Saturday. Buying all the ingredients is one thing. Finding suet is another. He brought some back from his last trip to England which was just enough. He spent an hour and a half getting the stuff ready yesterday. Then it had to sit in a bowl overnight. Then it (they) had to be put into two Pyrex bowls, topped by waterproof paper and tied with string. The bowls were put into a separate large spaghetti pot with boiling water. They will have to be boiled on the stove for seven hours. We will have to keep checking the water level.
Once they are taken out, they get stored in a cupboard until ready for use. They steam for another two hours in a spaghetti pot on Christmas Day. Then the DH makes brandy butter, which is creamed butter with brandy added to it and some sugar. It's put on the hot pudding so it can melt. Deeee-lish. Faaat-ening.
Maybe $18 bucks isn't such a lot of money. Maybe fruitcake from Costco is a beautiful thing.