Yorkshire is the largest county in the British Isles and in days gone by was so large that it was divided into three Ridings - the East Riding, the West Riding and - the one where we live - the North Riding. Ridings are no longer with us but we are still called North Yorkshire.
As a county we are famous for various things. The white rose of Yorkshire, which appears on the Yorkshire flag, the Yorkshire Post, the daily paper of the county, the Great Yorkshire Show, which is one of the largest Agricultural Shows in the country the Wensleydale cheese, which is produced at Hawes in Yorkshire. I could go on, but I will stop there at what is perhaps our most famous claim to fame and one which I made for lunch today. The Yorkshire Pudding.
Traditionally it was eaten as a starter. Critics always said that this was so that by the time you came to the Main Course you were so full of pudding that you didn't eat so much of expensive meat. (In Lincolnshire the same was said of the Suet Pudding, eaten first with thick gravy.)
Two things are always essential when making a good Yorkshire Pudding. The first is a very hot oven and the second is extremely hot fat in the pudding tins.
Today I came across a recipe from the cookery of Hannah Glasse (1796) and I thought you might be interested to read it and then compare it with the way I made it today.
'Take a quart of milk and five eggs. beat them up well together, and mix them with flour till it is of a good batter, and very smooth; put in a little salt, some grated nutmeg and ginger; butter a dripping or frying pan and put it under a piece of beef, mutton or a loin of veal that is roasting, and then put in your batter. And when the top side is brown, cut it into square pieces and turn it over and let the under side brown. Put into a hot dish as clean of fat as you can and send it to the table hot .'
This is how I made mine today: Put four ounces of plain flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Break an egg into the middle and then slowly whisk in 5fl ounces of milk and the same of water and whisk until you have a smooth batter. Leave to stand for about half
an hour. Put either bun tins (for individual puddings) or a large tin for one larger pudding into a very hot oven with some dripping or lard and get it really hot before pouring in the batter. Takes about twenty minutes. Served today with roast beef and roast potatoes, carrots and sprouts.
My goodness me. How times have changed when you compare those two recipes. Surely Yorkshire puds must have been the food of the rich if all those ingredients were added.
The farmer loves Yorkshires and I, coming from Lincolnshire, never really make it quite right (or so I think although he never complains (he daren't)). Perhaps he should have married a Yorkshire lass as this old rhyme suggests:
Here's to Yorkshire my lads,
The Land of Good Cheer,
The Home of the Pudding
Well known far and near.
Wed a lass who can make one,
Is the theme of my song,
But so long as she's Yorkshire
You cannot go wrong!