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Book Review: Pride and Pudding

Thursday, 21st April, 2016

In the past couple of days I have been transported back in time to my mum's kitchen in England.

It's been as delicious a journey as it has been nostalgic, as flavours, images and tastes have flooded back courtesy of a very original cookbook - Pride and Pudding The History of British Puddings Savoury and Sweet by food photographer and writer Regula Yeswijn.

I said read but in fact it was more like an inhalation of pages as I rapidly turned each one over oohing and aahing over puddings my mum cooked when I was a child in the North of England. ."I remember thar, oh I used to love that,"  came mumbling out of my mouth as I kept showing pictures to my not-very appreciative teenage children who had quickly become inured to my raptures,

Dishes like bread and butter pudding and summer pudding - I remember collecting blackberries from the hedgerows which mum would convert into the most delicious bread and butter pudding - the berries that made it home that is.

On the savoury side of things there was toad in the hole - I thought it was a special occasion when mum cooked this and I couldn't wait for dinner - sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter drowning in gravy, tasted like a royal feast.

I grew up on black pudding, white pudding, Yorkshire pudding, blancmange, queen of puddings, treacle tart, suet dumplings, jam roly-poly, bakewell tart, eve's pudding and so many more.

Some I even remember from school lunches - or dinners as they were called in "those days" - groan did I really just write "those days".

So my delight at this book grew with every remembered dish but expanded still more with all the puddings that I had never tried like syllabubs, cabbage pudding, hog pudding, Jersey wonder, Kentish cherry batter pudding, haggis, beef pudding and who knew the Brits had their own version of today's ultra-popular churros - the snake fritter.

This book isn't just a cookbook however, it's also a wonderful look at how these dishes originated and developed over the years.

By delving into texts dating from the 14th century, Regula traces the history of the British pudding in all its guises, from ancient savoury dishes to traditional sweets - pies, pastries, jellies, ices, flummeries, junkets and steamed puddings make this a cook's delight of a book filled with the most beautiful of photographs.

Regula Ysewijn is a photographer and graphic designer who was born and raised in Antwerp where she went to art school and taught herself to cook. In her work she is inspired by the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance paintings she grew up with. She fell in love with Britain after hearing a nursery rhyme when she was only a small child. Soon after her first visit to Britain at the age of nine, she started reading about British history and folklore, and travelled around the country with her parents every holiday.

Five years ago Regula began writing about Britain's culture and food history on her blog ii, and in 2015 she completed her debut book ii, in which she investigates the history of British pudding and celebrates the recipes that have been passed down through generations.

Regula has photographed a number of cookbooks for other authors and her photographic work, blog and writing have been featured by Great British Food Magazine, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Saveur, Pretty Nostalgic Magazine, SBS Australia, and many more. She is also a Great Taste Awards judge.

This book is a gorgeous gift for yourself, your mother or the cook in your life.

Pride and Pudding The History of British Puddings Savoury and Sweet, Murdoch Books $49.99 www.murdochbooks.com


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