A while ago I wrote about hiking pickles, and today I want to address the equally important topic of pudding flaps. Flaps about pudding are rarer than they once were, chiefly because puddings play a less critical role in our diets than used to be the case. Time was when no meal was innocent of a pudding, and though of course not every pudding preparation was the occasion of a flap, the incidence of such flaps was obviously more frequent. One or two psychoculinary statisticians have attempted to put a precise figure on the occurrence of pudding flaps, and one feels pity for them, pity mixed with mocking laughter. Sooner or later, I think, we are going to have to accept that we will never know how often the making of a pudding was done in a state of flap, certainly not to a statistically significant extent.
The implications of this are, of course, that I may be able to say nothing pertinent about pudding flaps save for what I have already said, that they used to be more common than they are in the gilded paradise we live in today. And it is a sort of Eden, as we zoom around the glistening metropolis in bendy hoverbuses, primping our bouffants with space-age preening tweezers, scanning the electronic information silos for the latest diktats from our Supreme Leader, the Great Helmswoman Hazel Blears, plugging our pods into hubs, enduring cataclysmic hailstorms with undiminished joie de vivre, and taking our state-provided One-Pig-Per-Person-Policy pig for a brisk walk through the concrete underpasses below the boulevards. Yet some say it is a foolâ€™s paradise, and they may be right. Perhaps there is a deep, primeval human need to get into a flap when preparing a pudding, whether it is a pudding of suet or of plums or of greasy slops. Our loss of those flaps, at least in our daily lives, has cost us dear.