I went for an early morning walk today. I was on a mission to pick persimmons to make steamed persimmon pudding. There are several persimmon trees here at The Bishop’s Ranch and as always there was an abundance of persimmons. Yesterday I noticed that most were gone or fallen to the ground, or pecked to the stem by grateful ravenous birds; birds who can’t believe their luck to find such a treat just days from a solstice dark night. This frosty morning I realized that if I don’t get some now I wouldn’t be able to make my Aunt Lorraine steamed pudding.
My Aunt Lorraine turned 90 this October and I brought her some stone hard persimmons as a gift. As a thank you she sent me her recipe for steamed persimmon pudding… and in her Christmas card I got this week she asked me if I’d made it yet. So you can see I felt duty bound to honor this women with the making of a steamed pudding!
As I often do I started making the recipe before reading through the entire directions. My batter was made before I realized I’d need a “6 cup greased metal mold” – opps – I could picture what I think I need, my grandma had all these copper decorative pans with fluted sides – I think that’s what I need – all I have is a Bundt pan – it will have to do. As I read on I realized I need to fit this Bundt pan into a large kettle – it just fits! Uh oh how do I get it out? I need to put water in the bottom of the pan… with a bit of kitchen twine and some knotting skills I managed to rig a string lift to check the water. Now I’m ready to go! What? “Steam for 2 ½ hours”. With time on my hands I did this little painting of some persimmons waiting on my windowsill. Still more time and I’m writing this blog and connecting with you… still 59 minutes to go, I guess I should clean the kitchen now. But not before I give thanks for persimmons, and family recipes, and the gift of time for this disorganized cook to paint and ponder and reach out to you.
Be well this holiday season and take time, however it presents itself, to give thanks for all the beauty and love swirling around the long dark nights and short crisp days of Solstice.
The shortest day and the longest night surround us and yet we rejoice in the radiance around us. Such is the contraction of the season. Whatever ancient religion you like to observe and celebrate with friends and family they all had the idea that this time of year is special. In this season we arrive literally at our darkest hour and yet all around us is abundance. The persimmon tree is the perfect reflection of the dichotomy of the season, a time of deep darkness and bitter cold that is filled with plenty and radiance. The tree itself is both bare and abundant. Like it’s sister trees it has lost all it’s leaves and stands naked along the path tucked between the Labyrinth and the old Ranch house here at the Bishop’s Ranch and while bare of leaf this nearly hundred year old beauty is in no way barren. The ancient tree is deeply laden with gorgeous globes, fruit of a deep orange color that is dense and rich, a fruit juicy and bursting. There she stands on these frosty frigid mornings defying common sense, full of fruit and possibility. The persimmon tree stands as a sentinel on this darkest night. We light our candles in celebration that we have made it once again to this turn of the earth and we will rise to greet another, slightly longer day tomorrow. Faith, in whatever form we choose, that this moment of beauty and wonder, so pregnant with possibility, will push it’s light into the coming days and weeks and months ahead. We are each a little light in the dark, we are each a flickering flame, huddle close my friends, share the flame within you, as the saying goes a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle let’s set the world on fire.
I’ll be taking a break until the second Friday of December. My husband, and web guide will be updating my website with this painting and some new work for you to see I will post a little something when he does. Until then have a wonderful holiday season, may your heart and hearth be full of warmth and light. Lisa