Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pudding vs Dessert

“I’ll bring a pudding”, Victoria offered.

“Hmmmm pudding is a bit odd to bring to a potluck,” I thought to myself, “but what the heck. I wonder if she’ll bring chocolate or vanilla.”

The evening arrived and Victoria showed up with a lavishly frosted chocolate cake. I was a bit flummoxed, but Tom (Mr Sugar) didn’t miss a beat, “Yummmm,, but, Victoria, Susan said you were bringing pudding?”

“I did, and here it is.” she paused and then laughed, “You were expecting me to bring a pudding pudding. I hope I haven’t disappointed.”

We had just experienced the beginning of many classic British American lost in translation.

For our British friends a pudding is any ole’ dessert. And as you know, for us pudding is the custard type dessert one eats when they are young or sick. Delicious, but not the first thing to come to mind when one thinks of a dessert. The chocolate cake was much more like it.

Recently I had a long weekend in England. About an hour after setting foot on that great big island, I started to notice something. Every other shop window was either full of scones and muffins or the most extraordinary cakes I had ever seen. There were puddings everywhere and not a custard to be seen.

Now-a-days I live in the land of elegant, sophisticated French pastries, but no one had prepared me for the happy, cheeky array of puddings that were going to be on display as I wandered the streets of merry olde England. 

Here are some photos of a few of the puddings I spied. And yes, I did finally break down and sample a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake - it was perfection. Well almost, because to me perfection is a scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream - and I had 2 of those.

The word dessert has it’s French pitfall as well. If an American pronounces dessert as they would say it back home a French person will wonder why they are talking about the desert - a strange topic of conversation at the end of a meal. I guess if one is lost in translation it would be less of a surprise to get pudding than a bowl of sand for the longed for dessert.