[NB: Except for this line, this page has not been altered since it was at
Robinson College. Certain of the information may be a little irrelevant in its
current location... the general principles apply though]
The Official RCPS Pudding Style Guide
The members of the RCPS have felt the need to share with the public some of its methods of pudding-getting-away-with (PGAW). To this effect, we have prepared this style guide to aid the public in getting the most value for money, and ultimately, eating satisfaction, from their puddings.
The style guide consists of two sections: Cutting and Presentation. Included (free of charge) with the Cutting section are several helpful illustrations to demonstrate certain techniques. In general, the methods of the "ordinary cutter" are shown in red, but the methods of the "model RCPS member" are shown in blue.
- Displacing the Center. This is a technique of actually taking far more pudding than is often considered a normal portion, and actually making it look smaller! Its only disadvantage is that it leaves a rather misshapen pudding, and other people will have difficulty taking equally large portions. Essentially, one simply moves the center of the pudding to further away from the curved side. This has the visual effect of reducing the pudding size, since the angle subtended at the blue point is smaller than that at the red point would be.
- Sloping the Sides. By sloping the sides of a pudding, one can take far more pudding than would appear to be in the dish when one is looking at the top of the dish (as most cashiers would be). The normal pudding cut lines are shown in red; note the significant angle (indicated by a blue arrow) between the RCPS cut lines and the normal ones. Again, the disadvantage of this method is that subsequent people will have difficulty taking large portions.
- Moving the Blobs. Moving blobs of cream is yet another method of taking more pudding. Its advantage is that it leaves the next person with a normally-shaped pudding to cut from (leaving him free to take an RCPS-sized portion). Its disadvantage is that moving blobs of cream can often leave telltale skid marks on your pudding that can only be removed with extreme care. Note how the original red blobs (in the picture) have been pushed to either side (to the location of the blue blobs) to maximize the size of the pudding.
- Using a Bowl. It is advisable to use a bowl for your pudding, no matter what it is. This has three advantages:
- the cashiers will get used to you habitually taking a bowl;
- you can fit more in a bowl than on a plate; and
- pudding looks smaller inside a bowl than on a plate (as witnessed by comparing the apparently large size of the pudding on the tray with the rather small size that ends up in your bowl).
- Squashing the Pudding. When your pudding looks rather high, but is not actually that wide, it often pays to squash it (i.e. press it down into the bowl). This often disfigures it, which is also an advantage in that the cashiers will not see how big the slice actually is, but just that you have a rather amorphous pudding in your bowl.
- Presenting the Correct Side. Occasionally a pudding will look fine from one side, but the other has (for example) been cut at a 45-degree angle. This can sometimes be alleviated by simply cutting off the offending bit and hiding it under the rest of the pudding in the bowl. However, this is often not possible, and so presenting the correct side to the cashier is essential.
- Dousing with Custard. When all else fails, and you are left with an unmistakably double-sized pudding in your bowl, it can sometimes help to have one of the people behind the counter to pour custard all over it. This basically completely masks the shape of your pudding; and in theory, blatant errors can be covered up in this way. Unfortunately, in practice, the custard put on is often not sufficient to cover up the pudding completely, so the general shape (especially the high parts) can still be seen. However, it might still be mistaken for a hot pudding at the checkout.
- Using the Right Cashier. Some cashiers will let enormous puddings by, and some will complain at anything larger than a "normal" portion. If there don't happen to be any of the former kind at the till on a particular day, then it is sometimes impossible to get a decent-sized pudding. However, the following tips should help you pick the right cashier:
- the generous cashiers are often male;
- the non-generous ones are often the same ones that tell you not to tip your chair backwards in case it breaks.
By combining some or all of these techniques, it should be easy (with practice) to get ridiculously large puddings past the till without anybody noticing.
Last modified on November 3, 1995 by the RCPS (plus Douggy)