Murdoch Books
May 2022
Hard cover, rrp $55.00

Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The last person you might expect to have assembled a definitive and historical tome of British puddings is a Belgian, but Regula Ysewijn is a renowned culinary historian, author and photographer, and this volume is as surprising as it is indispensable.

This is no modern retelling of the usual suspects – this is a comprehensive HISTORY of British puddings, both savoury and sweet, with lush and evocative descriptions of the way British puddings have evolved over the centuries, and where British chefs found their own inspirations.

The inner title page explains PRIDE AND PUDDING best: “The story of Pudding, savoury and sweet, giving the original recipes and historical background to each and every one of them. Celebrating the chefs to kings and queens and the cookery book authors of times gone by.” Adding, “With clear instructions to create the best steamed puddings and handmade ice creams, as in the olden days.”

Not only are the recipes herein definitive and illuminating, the history behind the puddings is fascinating, making the journey through this book an adventure in itself.

As we explore boiled and steamed puddings, baked and batter puddings, bread puddings, jellies, milk puddings and ices, we learn a little about the history of Britain herself, and the influences the Roman, Saxon, Viking and Norman invaders, as well as more modern political movements through more recent centuries all had on British puddings.

For instance, the first recipe for a fool – Norfolk Fool, to be precise – was published in 1615 in ‘The English Huswife’ by Gervase Markham, alongside some of the first recipes for trifle and flummery. “Flummery” you may ask? “An opaque jelly made by steeping oats or bran in water overnight and then boiling the strained liquid with flavourings such as orange flower water or rosewater. The flummery was then transferred to a wooden or earthenware mould and left to set.” So now you know.

It’s not all ye olde-fashioned quirks, not by a long shot. Exotic traditional Haggis, black and white puddings, sticky steamed treacle sponge, suet dumplings with oxtail soup, sticky toffee pudding, custard tarts, Yorkshire pudding, Toad In The Hole, snake fritters (an early British version of churros), rich, fruit syrup-drenched summer pudding, the classic bread and butter pudding, blancmange, Fools, syllabubs, trifles, rice puddings, bombes and even a brown bread ice cream all feature, all with detailed historical and cultural background.

If, like me, food is more than just something to throw on the plate and devour, Pride And Pudding is a real treat to read. Knowing where a food has evolved from can give us special insight into where we can then take it, and inspiration overflows from these pages in abundance.

Written for and first published at 100% ROCK MAGAZINE –


Shane Pinnegar
Shane Pinnegar is an author, chef and music/pop culture writer who lives in Western Australia. He has a lovely wife, two rambunctious dogs with no respect for personal space, especially on the sofa or bed, twenty-something koi, a flock of itinerate galahs who visit regularly, and a never-comprehensive-enough rock n' roll record collection.

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