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Plum Duff


Any rich boiled or steamed suet pudding made with raisins, currants and spices. Both Christmas Pudding and Spotted Dick are 'Plum Duffs', as well as Sussex Plum Duff

The dish does not, usually, contain plums, the name probably derives from an old usage of 'plum' to mean 'swelled up', as in 'plump' and 'plumped'. George Bell's 'Notes and queries' of 1849 has; "There is also a verb to plum... Dough, when rising under the influence of heat and fermentation, is said to be plumming well." The 'duff' bit is just an old pronunciation of 'dough'.

RH Dana's 'Two Years before Mast' of 1840 has; "This day was Christmas. The only change was that we had a ‘plum duff’ for dinner."

'We scorn digestive pills;
Give us the food that fills;
Who bravely stuff
Themselves with Duff,
May laugh at Doctor's bills.
- from 'The Puddin'-Owners' Evensong' by Norman Lindsay

Plum Duff has a certain association with sailors, though the name may not necessarily have arisen as explained in this article from 1893...

Shields Daily Gazette - Saturday 14 January 1893

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