Joyce Conyngham Green reflects on British puddings

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I used to think ignorantly that marrow puddings were made of the vegetable marrow; only recently did I find an 18th century receipt which brought enlightenment, and I realised that they were similar to bread and butter puddings with bone marrow between the slices taking the place of butter. The bread and marrow were layered with raisins or currants and an unsweetened custard of milk or cream, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon peel and brandy was poured over the mixture before baking.

What a series of glowing jewels sparkle in our British pudding chaplet: bakewell, apple, treacle, chicken, gooseberry, marmalade, batter, currant, apricot, plum and many others to say nothing of Thackeray’s ‘dear delightful, hot raspberry roly-poly pudding.’ Then there is beef-steak pudding, at its best perhaps at the Cheshire Cheese*: steak, kidney, lark, mushrooms and oysters all working together into one delicious gravy, brown, fragrant and sustaining. And what a crust… No wonder that the waiter at the Cheese was horrified when Soames Forsyte and Winifred Dartie went there to lunch and ordered a ‘light repast’. He did not allow them to get away with such a terrible gaffe, but ‘arrived with three plates balanced on one arm and the remark: ‘I ’urried up the pudden, sir. You’ll find plenty of lark in it today’…

Taken from Salmagundi, a calendar of sundry matters by Joyce Conyngham Green published by Dent 1947

*Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the Grade II listed pub on London’s Fleet Street, was rebuilt shortly after The Great Fire of London in 1666. Its vaulted cellars are rumoured to have belonged to a 13th century Carmelite Monastery which once occupied the site.  Patrons (of the pub) have included Charles Dickens, G K Chesterton and Mark Twain

Picture credit: Boston Public Library on / CC BY