Could a TV cook-off prove pudding’s Yorkshireness?

Not protected: the Yorkshire pudding
Not protected: the Yorkshire pudding
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ONCE again the faceless bureaucrats of Brussels have refused to make Yorkshire pudding a protected species.

The European Commission has finally confirmed that if you stuff a pastry envelope with some mince, bits of potato and carrots and crimp the edges, you can only call it “Cornish” if it was made south of the Tamar.

But it was decided that “Yorkshire pudding” is too generic a term, which means that people in Potter’s Bar (I am trying to think of the least Yorkshire place imaginable) can whisk up eggs, flour and milk, bung it in the oven and call it Yorkshire pudding.

That’s fair enough. The dish probably only got its name by accident. An 18th-century cookery writer came up with it to describe a recipe that she had encountered up North somewhere and back then the word ‘Yorkshire’ was often used as a synonym for the North as a whole.

But what happened next was a mounting conviction that for some mysterious reason only Yorkshire people were able to make this simple batter dish properly.

“People outside our own shire of many acres never produce a Yorkshire pudding in the same perfection as we do ourselves,” was a typical comment, made by one of the county’s newspapers in 1876.

So Yorkshire pudding is all about how it’s made (very hot oven, beef dripping etc) rather than what’s in it. If we really want protected status then we would have to prove that only people born within the historic borders of the county could cook it properly. This could be done in a giant cook-off, screened on TV and judged by Heston Blumenthal.

Would Yorkshire cooks make their case? Probably not. We all buy frozen Yorkshires nowadays. But at least they are made by a firm in Hull.