Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pudding & Pajamas

While I happily breeze along with The Way Things Are by E.M. Delafield for Virago Reading Week, two things had me picking up my pen to make notes.  The first item was a pudding called, Junket. 

A milk-based dessert, made with sweetened milk and rennet, the digestive enzyme which curdles milk.  Rennet comes from the lining of a cow's stomach apparently, which is a detail I could have done without.  Chilled before serving, it is often served with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top.  The popularity of this pudding goes quite far back and in medieval times was a food for the nobility.  By the mid-twentieth century it was more popular as something eaten by children with stomach upset.  If you have given this pudding a try what's it like?

In another scene it's time for bed and Laura has her boys get into their Viyella pj's.  Out came my pen and handy notebook again.  Viyella is a blend of wool and cotton first blended in 1893 in England, developed by James and Robert Sissons of Williams Hollins & Company.  According to Wikipedia, 'One 1920 advertisement called it "a guaranteed unshrinkable fine wool flannel" for women who wanted both "daintiness" and "protectiveness".  It won't protect you from headache if you have to look at your man in that ghastly plaid every night!

Back to my book...


  1. Viyella seems to be getting a makeover, Darlene, though I can't see it ever being at the cutting edge of fashion!

    I've never had junket .. it always fascinated me reading about it in books. But somehow I wouldn't fancy it. Like a cross between panna cotta and blancmange, do you think?

  2. PS I love the idea of 'protective' flannel nightgowns. In case of burglars? Or in case the man in tartan pounces?

  3. Laughing at you and Mary!

    My nan wears Viyella nightgowns. My mum has to hunt high and low for them every Christmas! They are very soft, though rather ugly - perhaps that's the protective quality?! Who needs a chastity belt when you have a flannel nightgown, eh?!

    Never heard of Junket but it looks like a less tasty version of Angel Delight, which my mum always used to crack out for parties, with a bit of whipped cream on top. Yum!

  4. My Mum has a Viyella suit which she used to wear; it was a dreadful thing and I hope she doesn't still have it.

    Junket sounds vile and not a patch on Angel Delight.

  5. You and Mary are too funny! I think I'll stick with my Amy Butler lounge pants. And I'm pretty sure I saw rennet at Waitrose the other day, but I think I'll give the junket a miss too--eeek!

    K x

  6. Junket is still available,it's usually on the shelves with boxes of instant pudding. I vaguely remember having it as a child. It's like weak custard.

  7. Back in the 1950s, when I wore housecoats like the little girl in the picture, I loved junket. (This was, of course, before I became a vegetarian some 45 years later). I haven't had it (or found any) in years, and, like some books I read in my youth, I'm wondering if I should let it remain a happy memory rather than trying relive the past.

  8. I remember Junket as something my Grandmother made - like pudding and it came in flavors. It came in a box like pudding or Jello ready to mix up. I remember liking it, but then that was a bit of time ago!! I also remember Viella as shirt fabric - nice and soft and in some NICE plaids! I don't ever remember seeing nightgowns made from it! A little heavy, but then if you did't have a lot of heat maybe they would feel good. What fun books are!! Lori

  9. mary, Thanks for the article! No doubt I will come across all sorts of Viyella products now that I'm aware of them.

    I thought of blancmange when I saw the photos but I'm with you, not my cup of tea at all. Cake would be so much nicer!

    bookssnob, Haha! There are absolutely no diaphanous properties to flannel. Have you ever worn a flannel nightie while tucked up in flannel sheets? The twisting and tugging that goes on...sheesh!

    verity, Have a scrounge in your Mum's closet to find out! And I must have a look for Angel Delight as that's another one I haven't heard of.

    Kristina, I agree on both counts!

    Rob, And sometimes for the better.

    Anonymous, Thank you for the description. Once I found out about the stomach enzymes I knew I would never venture to try it myself. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.

    Susan D, Love the image of you wearing your 1950s housecoat! I wore my housecoat to school one day in the 60s...that's a story for another day. And I'm thinking that junket may have lost some of its appeal for you. Not to worry, as long as there is cake!

    Merilde, I learn something from books almost every day! Viyella pj's might just do the trick then during my cold Canadian evenings.

  10. Darlene, Angel Delight is powder that you whip up with milk to make a creamy dessert. I know America has an equivalent because I've seen it in the supermarkets here but I can't remember what it's called. You can get strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch I think. It's the sort of thing you have at children's birthday parties, in little dishes, with whipped cream on top. It's tasty!

  11. bookssnob, At first I was thinking mousse but that doesn't come in butterscotch...but pudding does! Over here pudding is pudding, not dessert. Jello makes jelly and pudding...this is starting to sound like a Monty Python skit isn't it.