Have you ever had a Yorkshire pudding?
The story of the Yorkshire pudding
The origins of the UK national dish are somewhat of a mystery
Yorkshire pudding roast beef is recognized as a traditional British dish around the world, but the history of Yorkshire pudding is shrouded in mystery and its origins are virtually unknown. There are no cave drawings, hieroglyphics, and as yet no one has unearthed a Yorkshire Roman pudding bowl buried under the streets of York. The puddings may have been brought to these shores by invading armies over the centuries, but unfortunately no evidence of this has yet been found.
What has been found, however, are recipes - one dates back to the early 1700s. Overall, they're similar in the most basic sense, but there are a few interesting differences.
Record the first recipes
The first recipe ever recorded appeared in a book called in 1737 The Whole Duty of Woman and was listed as "A Dripping Pudding" dripping from the spit roast. The recipe reads: "Make a good batter like for pancakes, to fry in a hot pan with a little butter over the fire to fry the bottom a little, then place the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton instead of dripping You shake it by the stick a lot and it will be light and savory, and when you have enough sheep meat you can take it up, then turn it into a dish and serve hot. "
The next recipe recorded took the strange pudding from a local delicacy to Britain's favorite dish. It appeared in the art of cooking Made Plain and Easy, by Hannah Glasse in 1747.
As Glasse was one of the most famous food writers of the time, the book's popularity spread the word Yorkshire pudding. "It's an exceptionally good pudding, the meat sauce eats well with it," says Glasse. A slightly different instruction in their recipe is to "place your stew on it under your meat, and drop the drop on the pudding and heat the fire to make it a fine brown."
Mrs Beeton's Yorkshire Pudding Recipe -1866
Mrs. Beeton was perhaps Britain's most famous 19th century food writer, but her recipe skipped one of the basic rules of making Yorkshire pudding: the need for the hottest oven possible. The recipe was also flawed, instructing the cook to bake the pudding for an hour before placing it under the meat. Yorkshire people blame their fault on their southern origin.
Yorkshire pudding in the 20th century
Yorkshire pudding survived the wars, food rationing of the 1940s and 50s, and sailed through the tumultuous 1960s. However, as the pace of modern life increased and more women started working, home cooking began to decline. The advent of ready meals and ready meals towards the end of the last century led to the invention of the first commercially produced Yorkshire puddings in 1995 under the Yorkshire brand Aunt Bessie.
Set some standards
In 2007, Vale of York MP Anne McIntosh announced the same protected status as French champagne or Greek feta cheese for Yorkshire puddings. "The Yorkshire people are rightly and fiercely proud of the Yorkshire pudding," she said. "It is something that has been cherished and perfected in Yorkshire for centuries."
Yorkshire pudding was considered too general at the time, but that hasn't stopped Aunt Bessie and two other pudding makers (with the support of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Food Group) from making another attempt for protected status. Understandably, this has been of concern to anyone outside Yorkshire who makes the puddings commercially. Would they then have to call their products Yorkshire-style puddings?
Yorkshire pudding today
Today, Yorkshire pudding is as popular as ever, whether cooked at home, eaten in the thousands of restaurants across the UK serving a traditional Sunday dinner, or bought in the supermarket. On a Sunday, Europeans and British flock to Yorkshire pudding across Europe, and puddings are still a big part of the food culture in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Why this simple mix of flour, eggs, milk, and salt has found a place in the culinary hearts of a nation - and has earned a worldwide reputation - is a mystery many have tried to solve but have not yet found the answer. Maybe because Yorkshire pudding tastes so good!
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