When most people think of Cornish harvest customs think only in terms of Crying the Neck, however the cutting of the last corn is part of a much bigger tradition of feasting and celebration known as Guldize. Guldize is one of the first distinctively Cornish customs to be described and was popular right up to the mid 20th century.
There are now several Guldize events in Cornwall including in Penzance where the Saturday nearest the equinox is always celebrated. The wheat harvest of old seems to have been some 2-4 weeks later than today the chosen date in Penzance reflects this, in fact there are several chapel harvest celebrations in West Cornwall that fall in the first week of October. The traditions of Guldize are very numerous and I will deal with these in the next blog entry. This article is purely about one curious part of the feast, the Guldize pudding. For many years I have read of Guldize suppers where a large pudding was eaten, served with lashings of clotted cream. I thought nothing more of this until I recently attended an evening in Madron organised by Bewnans Kernow. A local resident was able to describe to me the “threshing day suppers” (an alternative name given to Guldize following the introduction of mechanical threshers). He also recognised the word “Guldize” and associated it with a large steamed pudding, not dissimilar to a Christmas pudding, which was eaten at all times of the year.
The descriptions of puddings suddenly became more significant. It seems that these puddings were at one time eaten at Harvest time across the British Isles leaving legacy traditions in Cornwall and one other community, Brent Knoll in Somerset. So what did this pudding taste like? What was the recipe? The Western Morning News of 1946 carries this recipe which I think is the nearest I will be able to get to a Guldize pudding recipe.
More research needs to be done, maybe there is a family recipe out there, I will however be attempting to bring back the pudding into into Guldize at Penzance on September the 20th this year.