16 June 2016

Pride and Pudding

Brit's love to label any dessert a "pudding" but in reality British puddings started out being savory foods, before the word was used as a generic term.  A while back, a nice Flemish girl named Regula Ysewijn delved into the history of proper English puddings and wrote Pride and Pudding. We cannot tell you how happy we are that she did.

 We, too, are fond of proper English puddings.  We, too, collect ancient pudding tins and molds.  We, too, collect old cookbooks.  Really, nothing says loving like a good spotted dick. Seriously, this is one of those cookbooks you simply have to love. 

First, Ysewijn, gives credit to all those who have gone before.  Some Flemish girl didn't invent steamed pudding, but she sure knows a thing or two about them. She traces the history of pudding in English culture from A Book of Cookrye, published in 1584 right through to Heston Blumenthal. She shoots her own photos, and each image resembles a painting. She shows off her collection of pudding basins along with many cookbooks. There is a large bibliography tucked in the back.   It is a true embarrassment of riches. 

Again, simply ask yourself, when was the last time you found a really great blancmange recipe?  That calf's foot blancmange from Catharine Beecher get old real fast!

If you buy one cookbook this week (OK, "this month" is the best we can do) grab a copy of Pride and Pudding.  Before the book was published, one cold actually purchase a matching pudding bowl to accompany the book.  Now you know we want to order one, but shipping books to the US is hard enough without adding a ceramic bowl.  Still, we are really sorry we didn't get one.

Take a look at this recipe for rice pudding.  Ysewijn lists a series of cookbooks that offer up a "rice pudding" that made with a stock. Rice pudding as it known today is often a cloyingly sweet mass of rice sugar and milk.  Traditionally, a rice pudding was more like an Italian risotto.  Given the choice, we choose this recipe.

Rice Pudding 

120g short-grain rice, such as arborio
500ml beef broth
500ml almond milk
A few saffron strands

Put the rice and broth in a deep saucepan and heat gently. Stir well and bring to the boil. Simmer and stir often so the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, after about 15 minutes, add the almond milk and saffron. Stir well, then simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring every now and then until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked and thick. Spoon the cooked rice pudding into a serving dish. 

You can keep tabs on Ysewijn, AKA  Miss Foodwise here.


  1. Hi Lucinda:)
    I can't tell you how excited I am to hear about this book! You have to admit, I do get a bit geeky about the history of food. (I just finished reading Punch by David Wondrich)

    I will be seeking out this book, Lucinda and I've already check out the Miss Foodwise blog and it's looking mighty taste!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lucinda. As always, I'll link this up to Cookbook Wednesday for you:)

  2. Hello! Thank you for sharing my book! Oh and there are a few pudding bowls left and most of the ones sold have all gone to the US! ;-)

  3. I will be seeking out this book, Lucinda and I've already check out the Miss Food wise blog and it's looking mighty taste!Laptop service center in chennai


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