There are more than a few words that bring to light the differences between American English and British English: sweater vs. jumper, eggplant vs. aubergine, vacation vs. holiday. Let’s add to that list Dutch baby vs. Yorkshire pudding.
That’s right. The word for “a newborn from the Netherlands” shares its meaning with what sounds like some fancy Duke of York’s gelatinous dessert of choice.
It all began on Twitter this weekend, when The New York Times shared Florence Fabricant’s Dutch baby, a cast iron–bound mega pancake:
British subscribers expressed almost immediate concern. Why? This confident super crepe is similar, if not identical, to that British classic Yorkshire pudding.
Hailing from Yorkshire, a county in Northern England, Yorkshire pudding isn’t a pudding in the way we in the States know it, but rather a puffed, bready affair, more closely akin to what we call popovers. Usually served with gravy and roast beef, sometimes sausages, it’s a far cry from the powdered sugar and jam–laden preparation recommended by the Times.
Fabricant’s recipe starts off rather Yorkshire pudding-y: You whirr together eggs, milk, and flour, and pour the batter into a generously buttered cast iron. After 20 minutes in the oven, it emerges voluminous and billowy, begging for a companion. It’s only then, when the question of toppings comes into play, that the differences announce themselves. People took to Twitter to express confusion, anger, bewilderment…
It seemed Brits were having a grand old time with the blasphemed version of the regional staple. What The New York Times—and many of our American readers—see as an ideal breakfast or dessert is just dinner in England.
Many were quick to point out that Yorkshire pudding even predates the founding of America. The earliest printed recipe for it can be traced back to Hannah Glasse’s 1747 cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
The British have proven to be fervently protective of the recipe’s history. Even the official Twitter account of Visit York threw its hat into the ring, letting everyone know just who’s responsible for the dish:
But if anyone gets the final word, it’s none other than Nigella Lawson, who tweeted out her own take on a Dutch baby five days before any of this controversy began. Ever ahead of the curve, her tweet was quick to highlight the similarities. She even called the Dutch baby a “Yorkshire pudding in pancake guise.” And in case anyone was worried about the “Dutch” in Dutch baby, she was there to clear that up as well:
Do you lean one way more than another? Tell us what you think in the comments below.