Sunday 2nd Feb 2014 is Yorkshire Pudding Day. Not that anyone needs an excuse to eat the most popular thing to come out of Yorkshire, but how did this simple food come to be the crowning glory of Sunday dinners up and down the country?
The humble Yorkshire pudding was originally called ‘Dripping Pudding’ and this first recorded recipe dates back to 1737. The anonymous writer advised that the pudding be cooked under the meat on a spit to add extra flavour and crisp texture.
The next time this recipe appeared was in 1747 and was written by Hannah Glasse. She was as proud of her pudding as she was of her county and so she named it after Yorkshire. Her puddings were lighter and crispier than those found in neighbouring counties.
Hannah’s puddings must have become the talk of the county; we could consider her the Delia Smith of the 1700’s. She described her pudding as ‘exceedingly good pudding, the gravy of meat eats well with it’. (We also now know where Mr Kipling got his famous branding!)
Yorkshire puddings spread far and wide with those made by people from Yorkshire noted as being superior to those attempting them from other counties.
Reports even suggest that huge Yorkshires were used as boats in times of flooding. Large puddings would be varnished to make them water proof and prevent a soggy bottom. A Yorkshire pudding boat race used to take place in Brawby, North Yorkshire each year.
Many people (southerners mainly!) are surprised to find that Yorkshires were not originally served with their main course. Oh no the Yorkshire pudding was a starter, and best served with gravy. For poorer folk in the 1700s meat was an expensive item and so the theory of ‘fill ‘em up on pudding and they won’t eat as much meat’ was well established.
However folklore also offers an alternative theory on why this was the case. We must go back to Viking times.
Now Vikings as you know listed plundering and pillaging amongst their hobbies. So the people living on the Yorkshire coast lived with constant worry of Viking attack. The people further inland felt smug and secure as they carried about their daily tasks.
The Vikings however did not stop at the coast and happened upon a small village around lunch time on a Sunday. The women folk were just serving up dinner; and being strong, determined sorts who didn’t take any rubbish from any man, they sat the Vikings down and fed them meat and Yorkshire puddings.
The Vikings became quite sedated by the food, especially the Yorkshire puddings, and kept demanding more and more. The women kept feeding them until they were satisfied.
After their meal they left- no plundering or pillaging occurred and the village was left in peace.
However, the villagers hadn’t escaped totally unscathed. All of the ingredients used in making Yorkshire puddings had been used, so no more could be made. So from then on the Yorkshire puddings were eaten first in case of another Viking attack.
Many people today eat their Yorkshire puddings in many different ways. Some with sweet fillings like jam or syrup, others preferring savoury choices like cheese and onion; but for me gravy will do just fine. So Yorkshire I have one questions, how do you eat yours?
Written By Claire Drew