As you may or may not know, this past Sunday was 'stir up Sunday', a victorian tradition where a family does the majority of their Christmas baking of goods that need to 'mature' - think Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake, mincemeat for pies etc. I have only once observed stir up Sunday and last November I was determined that in the coming year I would do so again. I dutifully sat at my computer searching 'future dates for stir up Sunday' and even more dutifully put the next FIVE into my phone calendar. Remember, I am an all or nothing human so why put just 2019's date in when I can be sorted until 2025?!
Full disclaimer, I have always loved baking. It suits my anxious perfectionist mind better than cooking as I have to strictly follow the recipe and measure out my ingredients perfectly or the the chemical reaction I want won't take place properly (I'm looking at you mum's birthday cake 2K18 you non-rising bastard). But, it can often be very anxiety inducing (again, I'm looking at you mum's floppy birthday cake). I always want it to be perfect, and I am always baking for other people, so given my most recent battle with anxiety I haven't so much as touched a cookie sheet in over a year.
Anyway, I've been talking about my plans for weeks. My mum bought me a truly lovely Emma Bridgewater pudding basin nearly a month ago in preparation (we ended up not using it because it is SO large but no matter). I ordered a silver sixpence from the Royal Mint ready to stir in for one lucky pudding eater to find on Christmas Day.
And then last week came. And every day I had this nagging in my head (Hi Sylvia) 'this isn't going to happen. I haven't got all the ingredients together. I haven't even got all the recipes I plan on using'. On this occasion though, I ignored my brain and went about my business. Saturday came and I had still not bought any of the supplies. In the recent past, my brain would be going haywire with criticism and anxious thoughts. But not this time. I calmly thought to myself that if it happened it happened and if it didn't it wouldn't be the end of the world. Truth is, I'd decided that Sunday wasn't going to work sometime mid-week. My family were planning on going out for lunch, so whilst the kitchen would be clear all day I would be out over the time I would need to be home steaming a pudding to death.
I woke up on Monday morning and decided, Tuesday or Wednesday will be my day. Both days were actually free and it would give me time to find the recipes I want and get in any extra ingredients. And then I saw a post on Facebook, where someone asked if anyone had observed stir up Sunday and that the poster was feeling guilty for not realising it was yesterday. I commented that I too had missed Sunday but that I was going ahead and doing it this week and that there was no point in completely missing out just because I didn't do it on the prescribed day! They agreed and went on to say that traditions have to work with you and be malleable or they die out and that's so true. We get this idea that with certain days, activities etc. we have to do them by the book for it to be right and that is especially true with anxiety. Instead I'm finding that what matters is the effort you choose to put in when you could just throw in the towel.
So there we have it. A few days late but I genuinely feel like I have achieved something that I've wanted to do for over a year. I'll be honest, there were genuinely tears at one point when I just thought it wasn't going to happen, but when I got in the kitchen and got to work all of those frustrations and anxieties melted away. And now I have three puddings, of which two will be gifts, and enough Christmas cake to feed a small army. And I couldn't be happier with how I spent my day or how they all turned out.