“Me mother allus gives me a special do on a Wednesday night after I get back from Houlton market—a few good slices o’beef, sprouts and taties and, like I said, three Yorkshire puddin’s and a smashin’ spotted Dick and custard…”
“…as we took our places and read through the good, old-fashioned Yorkshire menu, which had always delighted me—Yorkshire pudding, plaice and chips, steak and kidney pie, steamed jam sponge, spotted Dick and custard…”
Every Living Thing--James Herriott
The cook smiled at Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy. “Would you some puddin’ then? Some spotted dick and a bit of custard?"Midsomer Murders
I have always found it something of an adventure to try the foods that other cultures enjoy but that are not common in this country. Having read many novels set in the United Kingdom, I have wondered what some of the things the characters eat are like, and I have gone to the trouble of making a few of them.
The first lesson is realizing that some of the words they use to refer to their favorite concoctions do not mean the same thing in the United States; pudding, for example, is almost certainly not what we know as milk and sugar heated on the stove and thickened with eggs and cornstarch (or the instant variety of the dessert that emerges from a package dumped in a bowl and whipped vigorously with cold milk).
Once upon a time, I bought kidneys and tried making a steak-and-kidney pie (once was enough) – I can eat some organ meats, but kidneys? Never again. I have put a Yorkshire pudding, which of course is not a "pudding" at all, in the oven along with roast beef on a number of occasions.
But Spotted Dick? A sponge pudding called Spotted Dick? One trembles at the thought. And Richard, my dearly beloved, who often refers to himself as Dick when he talks to people on the phone, saw a can of it at the salvage store...
and couldn’t pass it up.
And it was quite good...
even without being topped with custard.
I seldom make dessert, but now that I have had a taste of it, I may even try my hand at making it next time I have company.
And when they ask, "What is this?" Perhaps I'll tell them it is "spotted Richard," or "Richard with raisins."