[How unfortunate that the people Knockers is writing about are so famously illiterate. Perhaps anyone from the home counties travelling up North – presumably to survey potential fracking sites – might charitably read it out for them.]
I’d never pick a fight with a Yorkshireman. Or a Yorkshirewoman. Or a Yorkshire Terrier, for that matter. I came very close once, in Batley, aged 13, when a screech of teenage girls was compelled to follow a friend and I by our not-from-round-these-parts get-up. We knew we were in trouble the minute they spied our granddad shirts and terracotta lip-liner. Or perhaps it was our tights, despite the balmy 2 °C temperature. Either way, it was only thanks to my friend’s superior intellect southern softiness that we managed to extricate ourselves from the potentially face-threatening situation. As she attempted to reason with them, they tripped over their tongues trying to impersonate our ‘posh’ (read: southern) accents and we sprinted away as fast as our espadrilles would carry us.
Can you imagine the risk to our personal safety had we attempted to debate that most territorial of subjects: the Yorkshire pud? Frankly, it’s the culinary equivalent of Israel so always best avoided. I don’t care whether there’s every chance that the Yorkie was probably possibly invented elsewhere in Britain. Or that Yorkshireans served it as a pre-meal filler-upper so that spendthriftiness could be meted out, meat-wise. And I’m sure there’s absolutely no truth in the fact that they like ‘em crispy ‘cause they’re handy to scrape ice off t’windscreen before a spring afternoon drive. No, when it comes to the pud, I stand shoulder to very muscly shoulder with my northern counterparts. Especially when it’s against the Americans.
The point of all this is to share with you that I’ve been to a restaurant in America where they serve Yorkshire puddings with strawberry butter. IT BLEW MY TINY, BRITISH MIND. OK, so they called them ‘popovers’, which is clearly unforgiveable, but YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS with STRAWBERRY BUTTER. I suddenly realised what my American relatives meant when referring to, “Those little breads you make with Sunday lunch.” They were brought to the table instead of bread WITH STRAWBERRY BUTTER. I was so conflicted. One part of me wanted to scribble out the p-word in every menu, whilst shouting, “Unhand our national dish, you heathens!” while the other side was goggle-eyed with excitement having just discovered something so naughty: Yorkshires with sweet stuff. OMFG!
Turns out any American who has ever eaten in-store at Neiman Marcus (http://www.neimanmarcus.com/en-gb/stores/restIndex.jsp), which is most Americans, has merrily popovered many-a-time without a care in the world. And because they don’t have Yorkshire pudding previous, they’re like, “So?” But they don’t get it. They live in a world where department stores serve ‘upscale-casual cuisine’ as standard, and for cheap ($62/£37 for 4.5). You don’t have to schlep all the way to Harvey Nic’s or Horrids to find food that is, unlike that of all other department stores, above service station standards. No, you can just wander into any Neimans in any town and scoff Yorkshire puddings with strawberry butter and no one bats an eyelid. It’s so wrong, but so right.
Note to reader: This sweetening-of-the-pud may not be that shocking because apparently, Mark Parkinson of The Fleece in West Yorkshire (http://www.fleece-inn.com), recently got out his rhubarb and custard Yorkshire on Mary Berry’s new show. Turns out, that’s not a euphemism. Although he clearly did it just to steal my thunder, only 3.2 million people saw it, so no biggy. The main thing is, he says it’s OK to eat it sweet so I’m in. Whatever the Yorkshireman says.
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