Sunday, January 18, 2009

Well, why not plum duff? Actually, as my three-year-old grandson Maddox is lately fond of saying, I owe the title of this blog to Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas, mother and daughter co-authors of Lobscouse & Spotted Dog: which it's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels (of Patrick O'Brian). Write the authors: "Fundamentally, duff is dough. In its plainest form it is no more than flour (half a pound per man) mixed with salt water, put in a bag, and boiled in the coppers with the meat for four or five hours....On Sundays plain duff is transformed into Plum-Duff by virtue of an ounce of mouldy raisins or currants--the opulence of 'double-shotted' duff being achieved by a commensurate increase in the 'plum' ration."

So there you have it: simplicity itself. However, if you prefer your duff a little more refined, try Plum Duff with Rum Sauce from at I plan to try the latter as soon as I find my pots and pans, which it is regrettable were innocently misplaced in my husband's and my recent move from Fernley, Nevada, back into Reno.

You see this blog coincides with a change in my life. I am no longer gainfully employed (most recently as a part-time composition instructor), and I no longer write a weekly column for my formerly local newspaper The Fernley Leader. But I do retain the itch to write, and Dale retains the itch to eat, so the pots and pans must surface finally.

In the meantime plum duff seems to me to be a interesting variant on the staff of life and one amenable to alteration to suit one's taste. My taste includes politics (although my liberal sister pleads I not write about it), but also much of what is happening around me, especially the curious and the hypocritical (I make faces at myself in the mirror when I find such), and write about all these I shall, adding a few causes and memories. I hope you'll come along and enjoy the excursion.


  1. Bah! Rubbish! I wanted to be your first comment! Blast and double blast again for my antiquated work computer that didn't allow me to post comments.

    Great to see your blog. I look forward to following it and more of the extra tasty gruel!

    El Yanqui!