Monday, October 15, 2012
You can't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat
I am reading JK Rowlings’ new book “Casual Vacancy”. It’s really quite good but a giant leap away from Harry Potter . . . this is not a children’s book. It is also not Americanized in any way and is chock full of Britishisms.
I have an acquaintance (I’ll call her ‘M’) from merry ol’ England - one who just so happens to live in the epicenter of all things British . . . London. So, I decided to ask her about a couple of words that mean different things to me than what they seem to mean in the book.
‘Pudding’. . . to me that means nothing more than a creamy, smooth confection preferably of the chocolate variety. To Brits pudding is a lot more than just mere pudding . . . it’s everything dessert.
So, I tried to explain to my friend . . . pudding is a dessert but not all desserts are pudding . . . at least here in good ol' America.
She seemed a bit confused, “pudding/dessert = same?”
I went on to explain, “Cake not pudding, ice cream is not pudding . . . they are dessert but not pudding.”
M, “So pudding = pie based?”
Me, “No pudding is PUDDING based . . . every other dessert is just dessert.
M, “Confuuuuuuuuused!! As far as I know both (pudding/dessert) are the same here!”
There, yes. Here, no.
I tried a graphical approach.
So, I tried the descriptive, “Pudding is a dessert with a creamy consistency; like mousse.”
And then to further complicate the situation I brought up that Brits put meat in pudding (Yorkshire Pudding) and that some sausages are puddings, too (Blood Pudding). And what about Steak and kidney pudding!
M, “Heh heh - I am soooooo confused!!!!”
Me, “That's ok . . . we all agree on what tea is, right?”
To me tea is a simply a cup of tea. Of course, I know of the British traditional tea time where tea is served with sweet and/or savory treats (puddings?).
Me, “If you're going to tea . . . is it merely tea (like a cup-a) or can it be more than tea. Like a meal of some sort; dinner or lunch.”
M, “To be honest there isn't a hard and fast rule. Some people over here refer to tea as in having their evening meal/light supper.
“It isn't lunch though, lunch is lunch!
“But if it is just say a cake and a drink then the phrase would be more likely ‘come over for a cup of tea’.”
Uh, huh. Crazy Brits.
Pssst . . . I bet tea would go great with pudding.