Running alongside the window commission, Cooking Sections invited people to come together for Stir Up Sunday to collect, examine and challenge the ingredients for The Empire Remains Christmas Pudding.

Stir-up Sunday fell on Sunday 24 November 2019. It is a centuries-old annual tradition in which home-cooks spend the last Sunday before Advent ‘stirring up’ their Christmas pudding. Comprised of 17 ingredients spanning the breadth of the former British Empire, this event considered how we track global food distributions and respond to questions on the dissolution of origin, as well as surveying what ingredients are available.


NUTMEG – Produced in the EU
Donated from The Real Junk Food, Birmingham, UK
The Real Junk Food Project is an organisation that uses food that would otherwise have been discarded from supermarkets and restaurants.

SULTANAS – Produce of Turkey
Bought in Holland and Barrett, Bearwood, Birmingham, UK.
Both Co-op and Aldi options were also produced in Turkey.

APPLES – The Growing Project Allotment, Birmingham, UK
Next to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Growing Project is a community-led growing scheme working with organisations who support the vulnerably housed and people in crisis.

BREADCRUMBS – LOAF, Stirchley, Birmingham, UK
LOAF is a Birmingham based Co-operative Bakery.
Flour – Matthews Organic Strong White Flour, Cotswolds, UK.
Fine Sea Salt – Suma Wholesale (Co-op). Produced in Sicily, Italy.
Water – Birmingham tap, Elan Valley Reservoir, UK.

CURRANTS – Produce of Greece
Ordered on, because there were none left in Tesco or Aldi due to Stir Up Sunday.

BEEF SUET – Model Farm, Hereford, West Midlands, UK
Model Farm is a farm that is committed to traditional methods of husbandry. Hereford Breed, suet aged for 4 years.

FLOUR – Shipton Mill, Gloucestershire, UK
Emmer Wheat (an ancient variety dating back to 8000BC) milled and packed in Gloucestershire, UK. Maris Widgeon (a variety developed in the 60’s) grown, milled and packed in Gloucestershire, UK.

RAISINS – Produce of South Africa
Ordered on, to ensure that they came from South Africa.

CANDIED PEEL – Homemade, Birmingham, UK
Lemons (Italy), Oranges (Spain) and sugar donated from Smethwick Can.
Smethwick Can is a joint response from local churches to tackle poverty, provide opportunities and support the most vulnerable.

EGGS – Dungannon, County Tyrone, UK
Skea Eggs bought at M&S, Euston station, London, UK and smuggled to Birmingham.

Sainsburys, Selly Oak, Birmingham, UK
The Birmingham Food Council’s Kate Cooper examined her family connection to the sugar trade.

BEER – IPA, Digbrew Brewery, Digbeth, Birmingham, UK
Locally Brewed less than a mile away from Grand Union Gallery.

CINNAMON – East Nepal
Sent via post, from a market in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.

SHERRY – Jerez, Spain
Wine Freedom, Birmingham, UK
From the Romate vineyard, it uses blend of 3 types of white grape.

RUM – Caribbean Inspired, Bottled in the UK
ASDA Refined Dark Navy Rum. Originally bought Appleton Estate Rum from St Elizabeth, Jamaica but drunk with friends before Stir Up Sunday.

PUDDING SPICE MIX – Packed in the UK.
Donated from Caneat, Stirchley, Birmingham, UK.

CLOVES – Packed in the UK.
Only 8% of the world’s production of coves come from Zanzibar, making it highly unlikely that these cloves originate from Zanzibar.

Stir-up Sunday

Image Credit: Nina Baille 2019