I've avoided doing a post on how BrE pudding is used to mean (AmE) dessert because it's one of those AmE/BrE differences that is known by most people with any interest in the two countries. (And way back in the beginning, I said that this blog wasn't about those things that are well-covered in lists of AmE/BrE differences. This has led me to drag my feet, or perhaps my knuckles, in responding to requests for this topic from American readers Cathy and Jacqueline.) The pudding/dessert equation has been mentioned in passing here and there on the blog. But there are angles on this issue that deserve further discussion. So what the hell, here are some observations on them.

This comes up naturally, since I'm in the US at the moment, and the first 'new' AmE/BrE difference we taught my linguistically insightful five-year-old niece on this visit was "dessert is called pudding in England". Her immediate question was the same as reader Cathy's:
If any dessert can be called pudding, what is [AmE] pudding called [in BrE]?
But before I get to that, let's start with a fine-tuning of the general American understanding of the meaning of pudding in BrE. Yes, it can be used to refer to the sweet course of a meal, served after the main course. But in addition to referring to a course, it can also refer to a particular kind of dish, as it does in AmE. But there's still a translational problem, in that it doesn't refer to the same type of dish in the two dialects. In BrE, the dish-sense of pudding is:
A baked or steamed sponge or suet dish, usually sweet and served as a dessert, but also savoury suet puddings (e.g. steak and kidney). Also milk puddings, made by baking rice, semolina, or sago in milk. (Bender & Bender, A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford UP, 1995)
Here's a photo of a Christmas pudding, from Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency. It's kind of like a fruit cake, but it's cooked by steaming. I know Anglophiles who buy and eat Christmas puddings in the US, but other such puddings are very rare in the US. My personal favo(u)rite is Sticky Toffee Pudding, and I consider it my duty to sample as wide a variety of STPs as possible in order to try to identify the best. Nominations on a postcard, please! (AmE speakers should usually mentally translate toffee in BrE contexts to caramel.)

In AmE, pudding nowadays refers particularly to creamy, custard-like desserts. Wikipedia treats this better than other dictionaries I've consulted (BrE translations in brackets are mine):
The second and newer type of pudding consists of sugar, milk and a thickening agent such as cornstarch [=BrE corn flour], gelatin, eggs, rice or tapioca to create a sweet, creamy dessert. These puddings are made either by simmering on top of the stove [=BrE on the hob; AmE stove = BrE cooker] in a saucepan or double boiler or by baking in an oven, often in a bain-marie. They are typically served chilled, but a few types, such as zabaglione and rice pudding, may be served warm.
As the Wikipedia bit indicates, the steamed, cake-ish kind of pudding is older than the 'milk pudding' sense, but it's not the oldest. Originally pudding referred to more sausage-like things. Hence black pudding, a blood sausage that is far more common in Britain (especially in the north of England--at breakfast time, for godsakes) than in the US.

On the grammatical angle, note that the BrE dish-sense of pudding is often a count noun (e.g. I made enough sticky toffee puddings to feed an army) because the puddings are items with well-defined boundaries, whereas in AmE it's usually a mass noun (e.g. I made enough pudding [not puddings] for everyone) since it refers to a substance. (Throughout English, we have the ability to make count nouns out of mass nouns and vice versa, so in this case I'm talking about the natural state of these words when referring to the food as it is prepared, rather than the senses "a portion of X" or "a smear of X", etc.)

So, what do BrE speakers call the creamy stuff that Americans call pudding? I think the best answer is that they don't call it anything in particular. There is no such thing as Jell-o pudding (the form in which most Americans encounter this substance) in the UK. The closest thing to that, although it's more 'mousse-like' is probably Angel Delight. A baked custard is a kind of pudding-y thing that is found in both countries (though not very popular in either place now, I think, except in the more exotic Spanish/Mexican incarnation, flan--which Kevin in the comments reminds us is usually called crème caramel in BrE. See the comments for more on what flan means). But in the UK custard usually refers to pouring custard, which Americans might occasionally come across under its French name crème anglaise. (This was discussed before, back here.) Both countries have rice pudding and the less creamy bread pudding.

(Incidentally, Better Half and I were grocery-shopping here the other day, and we happened down the Jell-o [US trade name, used generically to mean 'flavo(u)red gelatin', i.e. BrE jelly] aisle. BH was flabbergasted by the range of little boxes to be found there, which included two brands (Jell-o and Royal) and both gelatin/jelly and (AmE) pudding mixes. The Kraft Foods website lists 20 flavo(u)rs of regular Jell-o, 12 of sugar-free Jell-o, 17 of instant regular Jell-o pudding, 9 of instant diet Jell-o pudding, and 9 of the regular and diet cook-and-serve pudding mixes. So that's 67 products before we even start counting the ones that Royal makes. I've lived abroad long enough that instead of celebrating such a range of products, I am exhausted by the thought of it and look forward to getting back to a more sensible shopping experience. But only after I've loaded up my suitcase with A1 sauce, low-calorie microwave popcorn and New York State maple syrup.)

Returning to the course-sense of pudding, the term dessert is heard in BrE. The first sense below from the OED has been around in BrE since the 17th century at least, while the second, more general sense is noted as more American, but increasingly found in BrE:

1. a. A course of fruit, sweetmeats, etc. served after a dinner or supper; ‘the last course at an entertainment’ (J.).
b. ‘In the United States often used to include pies, puddings, and other sweet dishes’ (Cent. Dict.). Now also in British usage.
Other BrE terms for this course are the more colloquial afters and sweet, which is often found in lists of 'non-U' terms. Pudding is the least socially marked of these terms.

I believe that the pudding/dessert course is the one that diverges most, food-wise, in the two countries. That is to say, there are lots and lots of British puddings that aren't found in the US and American desserts that aren't found in the UK. And, of course, some of these are sources of amusement--particularly the name of the British dish spotted dick.

Finally (and not entirely unrelatedly), pudding is sometimes clipped to pud (rhymes with wood), which disturbs me when I see it in writing since I first learned pud as a slang term for a woman's genitals that rhymes with bud and is derived from pudendum. But BrE also has a genital-slang pud, which means 'penis'. This one rhymes with wood, since it is derived from pudding. (The OED notes that this is chiefly used in the masturbatory phrase pull the/one's pud.)


  1. "...i.e. BrE jelly."

    Hang on -- so what's the BrE for AmE "jelly" (as in peanut butter and)? Does something like "marmalade" cover it (which it doesn't in AmE)? Or do they not have the product?

    (I checked back in previous posts and their comments before asking; hope it's fine to ask here, as this post will come up in a jelly search.)

    1. In general it equates to what we would call jam although this refers to a product made from whole fruit so is lumpy with bits of said fruit. We also have jelly in jars. This is made in the same way as jam by boiling fruit with sugar, using the strained juice of fruit. It does not contain gelatin in this form and is clear ie redcurrant jelly. Both are used on toast, on bread, in puddings etc. Redcurrant jelly is also used like a chutney with cold meat.

      Marmalade is made with citrus fruit in the same way and includes the peel cut into small strips.

  2. ...which again makes my point that having new things in the comments doesn't work very well, since it's hard to search for them. You searched, but you missed that jelly/jam has been discussed in the comments on the baked goods post.

    Marmalade is not the same as AmE jelly. (It's the same as AmE marmalade!)

  3. I knew I should have google-searched the blog! Thanks, lynne.

  4. This is all really tricky, because 'jell-o' is called jelly in BrE, and I'd say that 'jelly' AmE is 'jam' in BrE. Marmalade is specific to citrus fruit. Jelly can be used for jam, but only if it has been strained.

    It seems to me that english people see 'pudding' as covering any dessert, as described by its name.

  5. When hanging out in Paris in '62 (partly as a grateful guest of George Whitman at the bookshop now known as Shakespeare & Co, then Librairie Mistral), I lived on the cheapest foods I could find. Two of these were named in French after the English "pudding".

    One was "le pudding" - what the English know as bread pudding, a moist concoction of bread, raisins and spices cut into cubes as a cheap form of cake available in boulangeries.

    The other was boudin, which was pretty much the same as black pudding. Came in a sausage and you didn't need to cook it, just spread it on a breadstick. I reckon that boudin was derived from the English "pudding".

    How about a post on mincemeat?

  6. Both this and the biscuit/cookie distinction are well-known and seem simple on the surface, but closer examination reveals that there are some wild and wacky semantic category organization differences.

  7. The etymology of pudding and boudin is far from clear. Here's the OED on the subject:

    [Probably < Anglo-Norman bodeyn, bodin sausage (second half of the 13th cent. or earlier), (in plural) intestines, entrails (1396 in plural bodeyns, with reference to animal intestines; compare Old French, Middle French, French boudin sausage, blood sausage (c1270), (now regional: chiefly Normandy) intestines, entrails, (now slang) belly, stomach (of a person) (1568 or earlier); further etymology uncertain and disputed: see note), with alteration of the ending after nouns in -ing (compare -ING suffix3). Earlier currency of the English word is app. implied by post-classical Latin pudingum (c1245 app. in sense ‘sausage’ in a British source; probably < English).

    The initial p- of the English word is app. not paralleled in French (although see below for two possible Anglo-Norman counterexamples), and would show an irregular phonological development. It has been suggested that the voiceless initial may result from the influence of other words with which the word may have been associated semantically in English (see below), although it should be noted that most of these are first attested much later and the semantic connection is not close. For a possible parallel compare later PURRELL n., and perhaps also earlier PURSE n.

    It is unclear whether examples such as the following are to be regarded as showing the Middle English word or (otherwise unattested) variants with initial p- of the Anglo-Norman word (or perhaps borrowings from Middle English into Anglo-Norman):
    a1300 Glosses to Comm. to Garland's Dict. (Linc. 132) in T. Hunt Teaching & Learning Lat. in 13th-cent. Eng. (1991) II. 150 Truceta vel tunseta : gallice puddins. a1300 Glosses to De Nominibus Utensilium of Alexander Neckam (Linc. 132) in T. Hunt Teaching & Learning Lat. in 13th-cent. Eng. (1991) II. 71 Tu(n)cetis : de puudincques.

    As for the ulterior etymology of the French word, Französisches etymol. Wörterbuch s.v. *bod- suggests that French boudin is formed < a Romance base *bod- denoting bulging, swollen objects, which is of imitative origin, and cites a number of apparent (largely regional) Romance cognates in similar senses; however, this view is not generally accepted. In spite of their semantic and (at least superficial) formal similarity, it is unclear whether Italian (now arch. or regional: northern) boldone blood sausage (a1556; of uncertain origin) and classical Latin botulus sausage (see BOTULISM n.) are etymologically related.

    An alternative etymology derives the word < a Germanic base (of imitative origin) taken to be shown also by Old English puduc wen, swelling (rare) + -ING suffix3. (Old English puduc would thus be formed from the same base + -OCK suffix). It has freq. been suggested that the same Germanic base is also seen in POD n.1, PUD n.2, PODGE n., PUDGE n.2, English regional (southern) poud boil, ulcer (recorded from the 18th-early 20th cent. by Eng. Dial. Dict. s.v.), as well as in other Germanic words, e.g. Dutch regional poddik thick soft mass, kind of pudding, shortish child, short fat person, Middle Low German puddich (rare) fat, corpulent (German regional (Low German: Bremen) puddig thick, stumpy), German regional (Low German: Bremen) pudde- (in pudde-wurst large sausage, esp. black pudding, also (fig.) fat person), (Westphalia) puddek dumpling, sausage, (Mecklenburg) p&umacron;den boil, ulcer, swollen body part, (Berlin, Brandenburg) puddel small person, small fat child, esp. a child just beginning to walk, (Pomerania) puddik swollen gland. However, in spite of their phonological and semantic similarities, it is unclear whether any of these words are etymologically related, and, with the exception of puduc, they are all first attested much later (in a number of cases very much later).

    In pudding-ale n. at Compounds 2, probably so called on account of the ale being thick like pudding; compare penny ale n. at PENNY n. Compounds 2.

    The English word was borrowed into many other European languages. Compare French pudding (1688; also pouding (1754)), Spanish budín (19th cent.; also budin, pudín, pudin), Portuguese pudim (1799), Italian pudding (1823; compare earlier puddinga puddingstone: see PUDDINGSTONE n.), Dutch pudding (1661 as {dag}podding), German Pudding (17th cent.), Danish budding (early 18th cent.; also (rare) pudding (c1800)), Swedish budding (1682; now regional), buding (c1710; now regional), pudding (c1710)), and also Irish putóg intestine, pudding, Scottish Gaelic putag pudding.

    The word is app. attested earlier as a byname and surname: Agelword Pudding (c1100), Aluredus Pudding (1176), Willelmus Pudding (1202), Stephano Pudding (c1225), etc. However, it is possible that at least some of these instances show a patronymic formed from the Old English byname Puda. See further G. Tengvik Old English Bynames (1938) 145. (On surnames which have been suggested as showing very much earlier currency of PUDDY adj. see discussion at that entry.)]


    By the way, boudin is eaten in the francophone, or formerly francophone, parts of the U.S., typically in two forms -- boudin noir, which is blood sausage, and boudin blanc, which is what the Germans called Weisswurst.

  8. >>A baked custard is a kind of pudding-y thing that is found in both countries (though not very popular in either place now, I think, except in the more exotic Spanish/Mexican incarnation, flan).<<

    To add further to the multilinguistic gaiety of this topic, this item is generally known in BrE by the French name crème caramel (although sometimes also as a caramel custard). I only learned its Spanish name flan on first visiting Spain: it surprised me because in BrE a flan is a kind of tart (i.e. it has a pastry case), for example, an egg-and-bacon flan (upmarket name: quiche).

    Is a crème caramel / caramel custard referred to in the US as a "flan"? And if so, would this perhaps be due to Latino influence?

  9. Glad you mentioned "afters". I (BrE) was brought up saying this and initially thought it was weird when people said "pudding" instead, even when it was pie or icecream...

  10. Kevin, you are absolutely right about crème caramel, and I knew that one! In BrE, flan usually refers to something that's more like a quiche. (No one seems to know the difference between a quiche and a (BrE) flan, but there's some discussion of it here.

    I'm going to make the correction in the blog entry, so that crème caramel is easily searchable.

    Vincent, search 'mince' on the blog, and you'll find a reference to pies and another to meat. (Search 'mincemeat' and you'll find the reference to pies.) But please use e-mail for requesting new topics!

  11. I grew up in a (BrE) household which called the sweet course "pudding", even if it was fruit. "Dessert", for us, was things like nuts and crystallised fruit, and served in addition to the pudding course, but usually only on Christmas Day (and, alas, only in memory now!).

    Re jam/jelly - "jelly" here isn't just the flavoured gelatine dessert, but is also used in the American sense of the term. You don't see it much in the shops, I don't think, but it's easy enough to make at home. Living in the country, my mother makes apple-and-blackberry and sometimes quince jelly most years. Often served with roast meat (redcurrant jelly is as traditional as mint sauce as an accompaniment to roast lamb).

    I rather think that when peanut butter crossed the Atlantic, perhaps with the GIs during the War, the "proper" way to eat it didn't go with it. I learnt to eat it as a savoury spread, perhaps in a sandwich with tomato and/or cucumber.

  12. As mrs redboots says, "jelly" and "jam" mean the same things in the US and the UK (at least in terms of fruit-based preserves – jam is made with the whole fruit and jelly is made with the juice only).

    The only real difference, as far as can see, is that Americans may have a tendency in some cases to use "jelly" to cover both, while the British use "jam". So an American "jelly doughnut" is a British "jam doughnut", irrespective of whether the filling is, technically speaking, jelly or jam.

    The various terms for the sweet course at the end of a meal may be a legacy from Victorian times, when a formal meal would have many more courses than is customary today. They typically included a pudding course (which might include both sweet and savoury puddings), a dessert course (often fairly elaborate confections like bombes) and a sweet course (fruit, chocolates, etc).

    It seems likely to me that as people moved to a more manageable three-course menu, they ended up labelling the final course with one of those three options and stuck with it.

  13. At the risk of eliciting opprobrium, I'll ask about cornstarch=corn flour.

    Since AmE corn flour is in now way similar to cornstarch, and both are different from corn meal, what is masa harina called in BrE? What about the maize/corn distinction?

  14. @jhm:Masa harina (if you were able to find it in the UK) would be called masa harina. Cornmeal would be either cornmeal or polenta.

    In the UK "corn" traditionally means any grain or grain crop, though I have the impression that this is perhaps less the case nowadays – perhaps under influence of American usage.

    "Maize" is mostly, I think, used for the crop in field, for animal fodder, or where it's important to be unambiguous. If it's on the plate (or in the shop) it's sweetcorn.

  15. I have the feeling that, in Ireland at least, "pudding" is fast losing ground to "dessert". I think restaurant menus will always call the course "dessert", while "pudding" may describe one or more of the choices for dessert. This may reflect or encourage the idea that using "pudding" in the broader sense is an unwarranted synecdoche.

  16. Agree with Molly - i was brought up in Ireland in the 1980s and remember the first time I heard someone calling referring to dessert as pudding - it struck me as very strange and probably something posh. "Sweet", when I heard it, left the same impression. But then, as a child I always automatically thought of English as pretty much equivalent to posh, and it came as quite a revelation to me to realize that there were working-class people in England who spoke with English accents!

  17. Dick seems like a very American, a more American, term for penis. Do the British use it in a similar way?

  18. Yes we do Anne, although there are many alternatives too.

  19. Can I offer some BrE equivalents for a soft, cold dessert like American pudding: blancmange, junket, mousse, mould, syllabub, flummery, fool, whip (jelly/jell-o plus condensed milk in the old days, Instant Whip and Angel delight more recently), and of course the custards, including trifle. Recipes for all can be found in Mrs Beeton's books, no doubt!

    Social class in Britain used to distinguish between those who referred to pudding (middle and upper - plain English cooking served at the country house)and those who said 'sweet' or 'afters' (lower class) for the sweet course. 'Dessert' always felt like a restaurant term used in the aspirational home, but it is used more widely now.

  20. All of those are indeed creamy desserts/puddings, but none have the consistency of AmE pudding. We wouldn't call a mousse a pudding, for example. (When I say 'creamy', I don't actually mean 'with cream'.) The closest thing I've found in the UK was the inside of a chocolate fondant cake.

  21. All I've ever heard of is blancmange (from Monty Python, needless to say). Isn't that sort of a (Am-E) pudding?

  22. mattf beat me to my question...and comment about Monty Python.

    But in regards to describing AmE Pudding...as lynne has said, it is not quite like any of the items mentioned. Though Custard and Mousse are the closest. The differences are that Custard is usually a bit firmer and Mousse has a "lighter" consistancy. American Pudding can be very dense and heavy. The main three flavors are probably Vanilla, Chocolate and Banana. The Banana is often served with Nilla Wafers (wikipedia has a page on Nilla Wafers if they aren't worldwide.)

    Here is a question, does the episode of Seinfeld where George creates the "Pudding Skin Singles" make sense to a UK viewer?

  23. Blancmange is more like a milk jelly/gelatin in that it can be set in a mo(u)ld. (See Wikipedia for a photo.) American pudding generally wouldn't be able to stand on its own outside a mo(u)ld. Blancmange is also the name of an 80s band whose success in the UK, like its name, did not spread to the US.

  24. Bill--I would've said that the main flavo(u)rs are chocolate and butterscotch. Perhaps a regional difference? (Don't know where you are.)

  25. Lynne...I had forgotten about butterscotch, but probably becasue that isn't one of my favorites unless it is a hard candy...but I digress.

    I can't say about the regional differences really, (I was raised in MA, but am in MD now.) but while I am a chocolate pudding eater, I know many people who swear by the Banana and Nilla wafer option.

    One thing that I thought of while reading this post is that pudding is not really something you get outside of home very often...it is not a dish that is usually found in restaurants, sure there are some, but more often than not it is either homemade or bought in little cups and stuck in a "brown bag" lunch.

    Large buffet style restaurants are probably an acception to this I would say, as I have never been to one that DIDN'T have pudding in a big mound that never looks very appetising. (How's that for another description for those who don't know what it is? "Looks vile in large quantities")

  26. @anne t. >Dick seems like a very American, a more American, term for penis. Do the British use it in a similar way?<

    I have always tried my best to do so. No complaints so far.

    (trinovante39, xcalibr39, pete moor, still trying to log in as ANY of the above, without success.)

  27. I've been trying to think of a food that's found in the UK that has the same consistency as American pudding, and it's just come to me: full-fat yog(h)urt. Pudding is probably a bit thicker...

  28. If AmE pudding is what I think it is, then it's usually called a dessert in Britain (oh the irony), at least by marketing types. I'm thinking of Milky Bar/Rolo/dessert pots and the like. See Nestle's UK product list here.

  29. I was surprised to see that 'pud' in the sense of penis is derived from 'pudding'. My father (like me, from southeastern Pennsylvania) has always been fond of the expression 'to pull one's pud' (in a figurative, rather than a literal sense). He pronounces the word in question with the 'u' of 'up', a pronunciation the OED labels as AmE.

    I had always assumed that 'pud' was a shortened (circumcised?) version of 'putz', which is typically pronounced in the US with the 'u' of 'up', though the original Yiddish pronunciation would be closer to the 'u' of 'put'.

    1. I found it interesting to hear that pud was used for female genetalia. I'm American & am from the South & have always heard it as meaning penis, as in the expression to 'whack your pud'. Perhaps its a regional difference?

  30. I can't resist asking Steve what the figurative rather than the literal sense of the phrase might be.

  31. To answer Anonymous' (possibly rhetorical) question: goofing off, messing around, wasting time, etc.

  32. My (BrE) grandmother used to make a chocolate blancmange-type pudding (or dessert!) that was a little less set than your normal chocolate blancmange. She invariably called it "Thames Mud", and very delicious it was, too. I think it was made with milk, cornflour, cocoa and brown sugar.

    When I was a schoolgirl, a popular pudding was called Instant Whip, which was some kind of flavoured cornflour that one could whisk with cold milk for a few minutes and produced a very nasty concoction thought suitable for teenage appetites. The chocolate and caramel versions were relatively edible; the others - weren't!

  33. When I was at prep school (in the BrE sense) in the late 60s, the puddings were among the more popular foods served. As well as Spotted Dick, favourites were Dead Baby (a pink blancmange) and Dead Man's Leg (Spotted Dick without the raisins).

    There's also a distinction to be made between puddings and pies: steak and kidney pudding is entirely encased in the flour and suet mixture, while steak and kidney pie only has a pastry topping. A pudding in this sense, whether savoury or sweet, is wrapped in cloth and cooked in a pudding basin. Norman Lindsay's illustrations for his classic "The Magic Pudding" show this particularly well.

  34. Peanut butter and tomato and cucumber??? Oh, Mrs. Redboots, that is shocking (to my AmE mind).
    Then again, if you have ever tried marshmallow fluff, you might feel the same way.

  35. I think marshmallow fluff sounds disgusting, but then, I don't like marshmallows very much.

    And peanut butter ought to be savoury - look at those lovely African stews with it in them. But I shall always be grateful to the American friend who introduced me to the concept of eating it with an apple.

  36. I'm an American and I've never heard the word "pud", is it regional or something?

  37. We're drifting off topic here, but it was an Englishman who introduced me to peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. Sounds revolting, I know, but I decided if I never tried it I wouldn't know, so I tried it, and ended up buying them nearly every day after that. Until I left that job.

  38. Bill - Pudding Skin? We certainly have custard skin in the UK. This is a discrete layer that forms on the top of pouring custard as it cools: it may be quite thick and rubbery and rather yukky - I remember school lunches were enlivened by battles to obtain (or to avoid) the skin.
    Skin doesn't form if you pour the custard soon after making it (from boiled milk and a cornflour mixture): sorry if this has already been spelled out, but does this mean that American pudding is make from a hot mixture that then cools?

  39. Marshmallow fluff is lovely, but then my taste in sweet food is heavily influenced by my American mother (who makes, among other things, marshmallow and peppermint icecream).

  40. biochemist...
    Exactly. That is exactly how it is made when it is made from scratch or when using a mix...which creates a "Pudding skin" that is dealt with in the same way as the cistard skin you are describing. However most of the time nowadays I would say it is bought pre-made in small cups. You can sometimes see characters eating from them in US Sitcoms. (Scrubs and an episode or two of Friends I think...)

    And cameron...I love Peanut Butter and Cheese sandwiches. I personally eat them with no bread, and just use the cheese slice to hold it...it doens't work well and tastes pretty bad if it is done with the "singles" cheese...must be done with sliced cheese (preferrably white american) at the deli counter. My Grandmother made it for me once as a snack and I was hooked. I am generally seen as disgusting when it is discussed...don't judge me.

  41. janes&#39;_kid15 August, 2008 19:27

    60-70 years ago, my grandmother, rural US made a "bread pudding" which was essentially what we in the US now call Stove Top Stuffing. (I notice that Googles high ghits for Stove Top Stuffing do not mention Kraft.com AND UK.)

  42. It isn't the best view, because he doesn't eat it, but here you can see the container it comes in at least.

    Wallace and his AmE pudding cup on Veronica Mars.

  43. I grew in NY the 60s-70s with Welsh grandparents strongly influencing the family language, yet the desert/pudding difference was driven home by Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall, and the famous warning "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!"

  44. Avoiding custard skin? It's the best part! Depending on the type of custard, anyway.

  45. In New Zealand one can buy boxes of 'instant pudding' powder. Beat the powder with milk, put it inthe fridge to chill and voila! - pudding! The main flavours are vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch and strawberry. They've been around for donkey's years, because my grandmother had a recipe (in imperial measurements - we went metric in the early 70s) for butterscotch biscuits which included a packet of butterscotch instant pudding mix.

    Having just looked at the one I have in the cupboard, I see the name has now - on Gregg's brand at least - been changed to 'Instant Desserts: buterscotch flavoured dessert mix'.

    Bah humbug.

    One thing that interested me on a film I saw years ago (Benny and Joon, starring Johnny Depp) was that it appears Tapioca pudding is served cold in the USA. Is that so? We always had it hot, cooked very similar to rice pudding.

    My grandmother also, by the way, had a recipe for the very un-PC chocolate custard-type pudding called 'Black Man's Throat'. How it came by that name I've no idea.

  46. Hasty pudding, known from the song "Yankee Doodle" is a steamed cornmeal pudding. Nowadays, one usually takes the same mixture and bakes it to make Indian pudding. You also sometimes see grapenut pudding in New England. I don't think I've ever seen either of these much west of the Connecticut River. (Which is a shame, because Indian pudding is a wonderful thing, especially if it is made with maple syrup instead of molasses.)

    As for savory puddings, I have seen Jewish delis in the U.S. translate "kugel" as "pudding." Potato kugel is, invariably, savory, while lukshen kugel (noodle pudding) comes in both sweet and savory versions.

  47. If you enjoy STP, may I recommend adding Malva Pudding. A delightful S African pudding that's IMHO a superior beast.

    Regarding the Jelly and Jam questions, my family's always been quite distinct about them. If it's smooth and clear (though of course coloured) it's jelly, if it has lumps of fruit flesh in it, it's jam, if citrus peel, it's marmalade.

    Regarding AmE pudding, I'm always a little uncomfortable with it in conversation simply because I don't have an ingrained name for it. I've taken to calling in flan but rhyming with (non-rhotic) barn to distinguish it from the tart (which I rhyme with pan).

  48. What you call the last course of a meal in the UK is very dependent on class. "Sweet" or "afters" is lower-class, "dessert" more or less middle-class, "pudding" generally upper-class. (The Queen says "pudding".)

    Just for fun, my husband sometimes says, "You can't have your afters until you've finished your befores."

    The word "sweet" referring to the basic taste sensation, or to what AmE calls "candy", is not class-bound.

    There is NOTHING in the UK that is exactly equivalent to American pudding, unless someone wants to get hold of a US recipe and make some from scratch. It is very similar to custard, and I seem to remember seeing an American cookbook suggesting using slightly thinned vanilla pudding mixture as a substitute for what they called "custard sauce".

  49. Obviously this will come too late for the general discussion, but you can get something in the UK that produces a jell-o result (as of the mid 90s anyway, i.e. the last time my grandma made it for us). It comes in fruit flavored cellophane wrapped blocks which resemble VERY firm jello jigglers. You melt it in boiling water and the diluted result re-firms to the texture of jello.

    As for AME pudding, Bird's custard thickened up with extra cornstarch makes a better version of vanilla pudding. And I swear I've eaten something made by Nestle sold in the refrigerator case that was nearly identical to a US chocolate pudding cup (although tastier).

  50. Er - how else would you make jelly (or jell-o style puddings, if you prefer)?

  51. Mrs. Redboots: Jello (whether from Jell-O or any number of other manufacturers) is normally sold as a powder in the U.S.

  52. Hello, are you still there? I remembered this post about pudding when I saw 'The Great British Bake-off' on BBC TV last night, 7th Sept. The contestants had to make a selection of puddings (desserts) and the only one with a soft consistency was lemon souffle. All the others were baked, containing either suet, bread or pastry, plus fruit or chocolate... yummy

    Don't know how to add a link - go to www.bbc.co.uk, then alphabetical list of shows on BBC1

  53. In America, "pudding" is synonymous with "custard" & strictly that.

  54. Um, how can it be, when American pudding comes, as I understand it, in various flavours like chocolate or butterscotch, and is made with cornflour or a similar thickener, whereas true custard is flavoured with vanilla and made, ideally, with only eggs, milk and sugar. You can buy custard powder, which makes a disgusting imitation of it, or you can buy it ready-made, which is much, much nicer, and the "Finest" options in the supermarket are very good indeed.

    Custard can also be baked, which I gather American pudding isn't, and if you bake it on top of a layer of caramel and then turn it upside down, the result is a delicious creme caramel. And if you, conversely, put sugar and the top and caramelise the result, either under a very hot grill or, ideally, with a flame-thrower designed for the purpose, you get a creme brulee, which is even more delicious. Again, this mixture is just eggs, milk and sugar, with no thickening agent.

  55. I'm English, probably upper working or lower middle class (class makes a vital difference, even today, to the expressions English people use - you only need to slip up once and everyone will instantly have slotted you into your correct social class). To me a pudding is one of those cakey-type things, like the Spotted Dick that everyone(including the English)tends to find amusing - or Christmas Pudding. A pudding is something stodgy and cakey that you might pour custard over. But, "pudding" is - or used to be - also the upper middle class term for the second, sweet, course of a meal. If you were less posh but still a bit pretentious you would call that course the "sweet" (as in French, suite, follow). If you were positively common you would say "What's for Afters?" Another thing is, we rarely call ourselves Brits. We are British only on our passports or when at war with some foreigner or other. The rest of the time we are always English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish.

  56. Puddings can be made by microwave. Not as good as the boiled ones but ready in minutes instead of a few hours. Try this sultana pudding. Five minutes to prepare and Five minutes to cook. I made one yesterday:

  57. Mrs. Reboots -- because in AmE (at least my dialect, which I'm assuming matches Allaiyah's), pudding and custard mean the same thing. The default flavor is vanilla, but either can be flavored, and can be nasty instant or delicious.

    There are a variety of compound words -- baked custard, frozen custard, which mean other things, but bare "custard" is always a synonym for pudding.

  58. Thank you, Antimony. Here "custard" is always pale yellow and vanilla-flavoured (if, indeed, it is flavoured at all - it isn't, always, although you might put a sprinkle of nutmeg on top of a plain baked custard). It is very similar to the French "sauce anglaise", although that, properly made, bears little or no resemblance to Bird's (the most well-known brand of custard powder, almost treated as a generic these days).

    With reference to what one calls the sweet course, I note my grandsons are being brought up to call it "pudding". The smaller one, now aged 2 1/2, demands his "pudden!" even if all he wants is a satsuma...


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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)