I’ve always felt that Christmas pudding is a bridge too far, that same bridge on which mince pies also reside. The scent and the look of them is tempting but the eating of them is just plain hard work, especially as one’s going to be stuffed as a haggis, after a traditionally gluttonous Christmas dinner, when the jolly tones of “..who’s for Christmas pudding?” can induce a reversal of the peristaltic wave in all but the maddest of trenchermen. It may be, that having photographed so many holly adorned, beribboned flaming Xmas puddings together with platters piled high with sugar sprinkled mince pies, I have become victim to a Pavlovian reaction, triggered by the memory of these fruit and spice filled sweetmeats awaiting my attentions in a darkened studio where the flames of burning methylated spirits replace those of Christmas. The picture in this post was created and shot in my studio in London during a heat wave in July some 12 years ago. Each year food photographers throughout the Western world will pass through that Vale of Tears known as the Christmas issue. It will always entail a great deal of discussion about a new vision of Christmas or, what would be Torquemada’s ideal, Christmas with a twist, but there is an immutable law that makes every version of Christmas photography look exactly the same, like Thanksgiving. There’s no question that the Victorians and later, Norman Rockwell, got it right and all the hand wringing, brain storming and blue sky thinking will eventually lead to the same, cunningly disguised by props and layout, predictable destination. With this in mind I”m taking my first steps of the ascent to the peak of a modified Mont Blanc, which I believe will have all the credentials of a Christmas dessert without the magnum force knockdown of alcohol laden steamed fruit pudding. Nursery food, the mainstay of the British Empire, has always been anathema to me which could account for my contentment in living and eating here in France.