Not just any bag – the pudding bag! Pudding in a bag? Isn’t that messy? Not if you know how it’s done.
Possible the most famous bag pudding is the Christmas Pudding that Mrs Cratchit serves in Dicken’s The Christmas Carol:
“Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in… Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper which smells like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quarter of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.”
Often the bag is a linen napkin ……. bag is a verb as well as a noun…..
Bag Pudding (OED)
1641W. CARTWRIGHTOrdinary II. i, A solemn son of Bagpudding and Pottage.
And if there’s bag pudding, could pudding bag be far behind?
A bag in which a pudding is boiled. Also transf. and fig. Cf. pudding-poke.
c1597 T. DELONEY Jack of Newberie (1619) iv. sig. G3, The other maide..with the perfume in the pudding-bagge, flapt him about the face.
1626 in NARES (Halliw.), [A piece of Sail-cloth] about half a yard long, of the breadth of a pudding-bag.
And now for what very well be the most comprehensive pudding recipe in any English cookbook ever, no matter the century. I have added the numbered and letter divisions to help you keep track of the possibilities:
Oatmeal Puddings, otherwise of Fish or Flesh Blood.
Take a quart of whole Oatmeal, steep it in warm Milk overnight, and then drain the groats from it, boil them in a quart or three pints of good Cream; then the Oatmeal being boyled and cold have Tyme, Penny-royal, Parslee, Spinnage, Savory, Endive, Marjoram, Sorrel, Succory, and Strawberry-leaves of each a little quantity, chop them fine and put them to the Oatmeal, with some Fennel-seeds, Pepper, Cloves, Mace, and Salt,
boyl it in a Napkin,
or bake it in a Dish,
- sometimes of the former Pudding you may leave out some of the herbs, and add these, Pennyroyal, Savory, Leeks, a good bigg Onion, Sage, Ginger, Nutmeg, Pepper, Salt, either for fish or flesh dayes, with Butter or Beef-suet, boyled or baked in Dish, Napkin, or Pie
1661. William Rabisha. The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected. p. 184.
You are he that did eat the pudding and the bag.
Proverbs Collected by J. H. Esqr. London 1659