The proof is in the pudding? When?

The proof is in the pudding? When?

I've read recently several copies of an"old saying" that strikes me as senseless -- "The proof is in the pudding." It's usually attached to plans and forecasts, so I guess I should not be surprised to see it now, at the change of seasons and just past a mid-term election.

But besides being alliterative, what good is "The proof is in the pudding"? It got me to go browsing through Bartlett's again, for one thing.

Score another one for Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), because once again, the expression is in his "Don Quixote" -- along with the ones we've seen about headaches and birds:

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

There, that's understandable now, eh? You can't prove how good a pudding is until you eat it. Yum!

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  • The plums are in the pudding. In England, the roast beef is.

    And, as most things, the expression was turned backwards over time.

  • In reply to jack:

    I like that image, Jack -- "the expression was turned backwards." Well done. As for the roast beef in the pudding, yes, please -- and it isn't just beef or specifically England, either. One of the funnier poems ever written is "Address to a Haggis," by Robert Burns, and the haggis is called "Great Chieftain o' the puddin' race." (For an explanation, watch this space!)

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Apparently haggis itself is a pudding, even though we think of it as a sausage, and, as most sausage, the rule is that you don't want to see it being made.

    Black pudding (also sold by the haggis purveyor) seems even worse, as it includes pork blood.

    I remember some British cooking show in which Devonshire pudding was made with treacle, and that looked pretty disgusting, too. I don't know if the dollop of clotted cream made it any better.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks, Jack. Yes, haggis is a pudding. Explanation will take a separate post. Meanwhile, yes, clotted cream makes just about everything better. I modify that only because you made me think of black pudding. That's too much for me.

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