So what does Christmas mean to you?
For me, it’s about enjoying the company of family and friends, sending cards, giving gifts (and getting some in return if I’ve been good). And food, because food forms such a big part of our Christmas traditions and experiences.
When I was growing up, baking and making our Christmas food favourites was all part of that tradition. Whether finding the festive cake decorations from the year before, helping measure out dried fruit or waiting in anticipation for that first slice of warm, honey-glazed, baked ham on Christmas Eve, food at this time of the year is an experience.
But maybe that's an experience that’s becoming just a little more distant for us men.
Because as recent comments by a TV journalist suggested men are slowly becoming redundant when it comes to life at home (because in his view, we’re useless at doing things), a survey out this week reported that more than a third of men won't lift a finger in the kitchen this Christmas.
More than a third of men won't lift a finger in the kitchen this Christmas."
According to the survey, it seems 'a lack of confidence', 'previous failures' and 'complicated recipes' are the main reasons men choose to steer clear of the kitchen on December 25th.
Lack of confidence? It’s cooking in your own kitchen lads, you’re not addressing the UN General Assembly. Previous failures? That’s like a line from a Christmas movie where the astronauts are stuck halfway between the Moon and the Earth.
Complicated recipes? Now that’s just a bad cracker joke!
And to prove how confident, successful and easy it can be, I decided to pud in the effort this year and make some Christmas puddings.
Yes, those fruit-laced, seemingly indestructible desserts that we never quite have enough room for after dinner. And as I got around to making them, I realised that puddings are the ideal, one small step for men, one giant leap back into the kitchen at Christmas.
Firstly, just find a pudding recipe you want to test drive. This is easy because there’s hundreds of them out there and all mostly a mix of dried fruits like sultanas, raisins, currants and mixed peel. To this you would normally add light and dark brown sugar, butter, eggs, breadcrumbs, cooking apples, mixed spice (available in a jar) and a drop of alcohol to help it along.
You then measure out these ingredients according to your recipe. This is the bit that appeals to our inner engineer because like any baking, you need just the right quantities of ingredients mixed together for the magic to happen. So follow the recipe and don’t get creative!
Finally, lash all your ingredients together into one bowl and mix it like there’s a winning lottery ticket in there somewhere. With your name on the back of it.
And when you’ve followed the cooking instructions in your recipe which usually involves a few hours steaming (the pudding, not you), you’ll hopefully be left with something resembling those at the top of this post.
As you can see, I pud in an extra effort and made just a little bit more this year - this bunch of puddings will soon be spending Christmas with family, friends and colleagues.
Final word goes to the Christmas cooking survey – a fifth of men admitted to the researchers that 'they felt lost in the kitchen' at this time of year.
Well that's an easy one to solve. Just go out the way you came in.