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Our new Pudding Head, Leslie Clark, smiles as judge Damon Herring applauds.

Our new Pudding Head, Leslie Clark, smiles as judge Damon Herring applauds.

The 2014 Pudding Festival fell on a GORGEOUS day. The puddings were beautiful and tasty. And the audience was enthusiastic.

The 2014 Pudding Head is a new resident of Hawley, Massachusetts, Leslie Clark. She was surprised but happy to find herself the winner.

The puddings arrived more or less promptly. Corn was still in season so we had three corn puddings! Leslie’s pudding was sweet rather than savory, however (sweet puddings ALWAYS seem to win our contest!). It was called Leslie’s Luscious Coconut Cream Custard.

Leslie's puddweb

We did have a photo of the kitchen crew, who worked hard and produced a delectable lunch, but unfortunately the camera on which that photo is located is currently misplaced. Here instead is a picture of happy eaters. As you can see, the Hawley Grove was filled to the rafters.

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The pudding parade and entertainment went swimmingly. We had two cute cows onstage, plus a very youthful soldier leaving his mother to go off to war.

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Cows Magic and Marigold

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Daniel Burt Jr. bids farewell to his mother.

We sang and laughed and ate and enjoyed the beautiful town of Hawley. What more could anyone want?

Thanks to Faith Montgomery Paul for taking most of these photos. Thanks to our judges (Michael Collins, Damon Herring, and Dédé Wilson) and our volunteers in the Sons & Daughters of Hawley and beyond, particularly musical director Alice Parker.

And OF COURSE thanks to our donors. The prizes and the event were appreciated by all!

Stay tuned for our next culinary event, the

HAWLEY GENTLEMEN’S PIE AND TART EXTRAVAGANZA.

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Carrot Pudding by Kelly Morrissey, a delicious entry from the past

Carrot Pudding by Kelly Morrissey, a delicious entry from the past

Pudding Day is almost here!

Judges are debating attire, contestants are honing recipes, and members of the Sons & Daughters of Hawley are collating scripts and programs.

Please join us this Sunday, September 28, in Hawley, Massachusetts. (Past participants will recall that the last few Pudding Festivals took place in Charlemont, but PudCon is coming Home to Hawley this year. Visit this page for directions.)

A quick reminder of times:

11 a.m.

Puddings, recipes, and entry fees are due at the Hawley Grove, across the street from the Meeting House.

11:15:
Farm Tour at Sidehill Farm

12:30 p.m.
Lunch back at the Grove

1:30-ish
Pudding Parade, Entertainment, and Judging at the Meeting House.

Feel free to contact organizer Tinky Weisblat if you have any questions. And if you’d like to hear her talk about the festival, listen to Tuesday’s Bill Newman Show. The pudding segment begins at about 34:03. (You can also hear Tinky talk about her book Pulling Taffy at about 17:34.)

We’ll see you in Hawley!

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Our own Tinky Weisblat stopped by to talk pudding (and make a little pudding) on the WWLP-TV program “Mass Appeal.”

Don’t forget: the Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival is just around the corner, on Sunday, September 28. Please join us, with or without a pudding, for this highly enjoyable day in the country.

Here’s the video, in which Tinky throws together a corn pudding:

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There are only three weeks left until the Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival—and the day is shaping up! Prizes are starting to arrive, including the first prize (a combination of gifts: a blender/chopper from Cuisinart, a tea cozy from Ann Brauer Quilt Studio, and maple syrup from Wilder Brook Farm, plus much more).

And we have our judges lined up. Two have been with us before. Kathleen Wall, colonial foodways culinarian at Plimoth Plantation, has judged almost every year. And Michael Collins, chef at the late Green Emporium, will taste pudding again in between work searching for a new restaurant. They will be joined by first-time judge Dédé Wilson. Dédé is a baking expert, a cookbook author, and the founder of the online baker’s resource Bakepedia. We are honored to welcome her.

If you’re a cook, keep honing that great recipe and prepare to dazzle Kathleen, Michael, and Dédé. Please note that you need to enter ONLY on the day of the contest. Be sure to bring your recipe and a $15 entry fee (checks payable to the Sons & Daughters of Hawley).

If you’re not a cook, plan to join us anyway for a day of fun, food, and music for a good cause…….

bakepedia

The Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival is a unique event in a lovely New England setting. “A little bit country and a little bit Julia Child,” the festival highlights the many talents found in and around the hamlet of Hawley, Massachusetts—and gives cooks a chance to compete in a deliciously sweet historical fundraiser.

The festival is inspired by a historical event in Hawley. Around 1780, the town held a contest to determine who could create the largest pudding in Hawley. The eventual winner, Abigail Baker of West Hawley, made hasty pudding in a five-pail kettle. She was thereafter known as Pudding Head, and her home is still called Pudding Hollow.

The festival will take place on Sunday, September 28, at the historic Hawley Meeting House way up East Hawley Road in Hawley, Massachusetts. Its centerpiece will be a contest that remembers Abigail Baker. In this case flavor, not size, will characterize the winning pudding.

Here is the Schedule for the Day:

11 a.m. PUDDINGS ARRIVE. This means that if you are entering the contest—and we hope you will consider doing so—you and your pudding should be on site by 11. We are working on a few nearby activities for contestants and their families so that they won’t just be sitting around waiting while the judges sample pudding—although there is no more beautiful place to sit around than Hawley!

There is a $15 per pudding for entering the contest. All entry fees will go directly toward the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the Meeting House.

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. FARM TOUR at our neighboring dairy (and pudding contest donor!) Sidehill Farm. Sidehill doesn’t usually give tours on Sundays, but its owners have graciously agreed to entertain festival attendees who are waiting for lunch. Meet the cows, tour the business, and don’t forget to pick up some of Sidehill’s delicious yogurt or raw milk. (The farm store will be open at the end of the festival if you want to wait until then to purchase products, but the tour takes place only at 11:15.)

12:15 p.m. LUNCH. We ask a donation for this feast, made by our volunteers, all fabulous home cooks. We will have cider to drink, donated by Clarkdale Fruit Farms, and ice cream for dessert from Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream. Please be as generous as you can!

1:30 p.m.-ish ENTERTAINMENT, PUDDING PARADE, AND JUDGING. Musical director Alice Parker and diva/cook Tinky Weisblat are hard at work crafting an entertainment that will laughingly (and musically) pay tribute to the role of cooking and pudding in our small town’s history.

After the announcement of the winners, audience members will be invited to come onstage to taste pudding. (Caveat emptor—or rather, eater: nibble at your own risk!)

We have designed this site to answer your questions about the rules, our donors, and the Sons & Daughters of Hawley, the historical society that sponsors this event. It will be updated as the date draws closer. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact festival organizer Tinky Weisblat.

Kathleen Wall samples pudding.

 

 

Kathleen Wall of Plimoth Plantation has served as a judge at the Pudding Festival for several years now. 

   

She is always cheerful, thoughtful, and fun to be around. 

   

We thought you might enjoy watching her cook.  NATURALLY, she’s making Indian Pudding! 

   

Here is a link to her video. 

   

Happy Holidays, all………….. 

puddinghead2009 web

2009 Pudding Head Paula Zindler

 
The 2009 Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival is over—and it was a success!
 
We were worried that the date (Halloween) might keep people away. It actually seems to have attracted them. Several festival-goers competed for the best costume prize, which went to local chef Marty Yaffee attired as “The Lion Chef.”
  
lionchef web

The Lion Chef

 
Lunch was a mob scene (but a tasty one), thanks to the efforts of Juanita Clark and her family, along with Sandy Cronin.
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The kitchen crew was cheerful and efficient.

 
Our entertainment, “The Witches of Pudding Hollow,” involved the title witches, their hapless male counterparts, a couple of ghostly spirits, and a lot of laughs.
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Witch Melanie works her magic with John and Ray.

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The Reverend Jonathan Grout and Witch Pamela

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Musical Director Alice Parker

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Original Pudding Head Abigail Baker--a witch AND a chanteuse.

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Ghostly spirits of Pudding Hollow cement the witches' spell.

 
Our judges worked extra hard to discriminate among the novel puddings entered in the pudding contest. We had entries from five out of the six New England states. (New Hampshire, where art thou?)
 
Bob Hall of Maryland won a bag of apples as the contestant who came the farthest.
 
Here the replete judges announce the winners (left to right: Edie Clark, Kathleen Wall, Michaelangelo Wescott). Thanks to the generosity of our donors, everyone went home happy as well as full.
 
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Mardi Smith of Newtown, Connecticut, took home the prize for Spookiest Pudding with her Fright Night Pudding.

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New Pudding Head Paula Zindler of Cummington, Massachusetts, looked a little astonished at her victory, but it was well deserved.
 
Her luscious Pumpkin Gingerbread Pudding (pictured below) featured a creamy custard made with sun-colored local eggs.

winner2009 web

 
Congratulations to all–and especially to all of our volunteers for making the day so joyful!
 
One of our fabulous judges, Edie Clark, has written a blog post that sums up HER experience that day.  Do take a look!

Meanwhile, here are a few additional images, just for fun.
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Costumed contestants await the start of the Pudding Parade.

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A Table Full of Pudding

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MORE pudding!

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Paula De Fougerolles and her family entered FOUR puddings in the contest!

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Our actors weren't highly rehearsed, but no one seemed to mind!

 
EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS to Phyllis Gotta, our wonderful photographer, for her contributions to this site and to our big day………
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