February 2nd – Yorkshire pudding people
“How dare they? How very dare they?”
There was uproar. The Sheffield branch of the Yorkshire Pudding People (‘Dedicated to preserving the culinary heaven of God’s Own Country’) was reeling. This slight could not go unanswered.
“This slight can not go unanswered! Something needs to be done!”
The voice belonged to Eric Battersclough, chairman for as long as anyone could remember of the Sheffield branch of the YPP. Normally sanguine, Eric Battersclough was turning an awkward shade of purple as apoplexy gripped his heaving frame.
“I say we do ‘em in. All of ‘em. Every branch.”
The voice at the back, clamouring to be heard, was that of Martin Darnall, a militant member of the outlawed paramilitary TBYTP (Take Back Yorkshire Through Pudding) group. Known for their sometimes violent promotion of the savoury dish, the TBYTP often donned balaclavas and armed themselves with sausages for their terrifying ‘Toad-in-the-hole’ runs, where they would storm the doors of upscale restaurants and insult the diners for their culinary choices. Their calling card, a small fortune-cookie-sized Yorkshire pudding, containing the message ‘You have been visited by the TBTYP’ was what kept restauranteurs in this particular corner of England awake at night.
Although officially not welcome, the TBYTP were tolerated at these meetings because, as Eric Battersclough once succinctly put it, “Them’s might be nobbut trouble, but them’s ‘eart’s areet.”
Usually, interjections from Martin Darnall and his associates were shouted down, accompanied by cries of ‘Shame!’ and ‘Get thee ‘ome, tha monkey!’ but this time no-one interjected. Action, it was clear, needed to be taken.
The cause of their ire?
Morrisons, the once proudly local supermarket, founded as an egg and butter stall in Bradford market in 1899, was stocking…gasp…popovers. Ready-mixed, ready-made, freezer-fresh Portland popovers, and not from the kitchen of the ever-smiling Aunt Bessie.
Popovers? You may well ask.
A simple web search will tell you that, way back when on the other side of the Atlantic, “Settlers from Maine who founded Portland, Oregon, Americanized the pudding from Yorkshire by cooking the batter in custard cups lubricated with drippings from the roasting beef (or sometimes pork); another modification was the use of garlic, and, frequently, herbs. The result is called Portland popover pudding: individual balloons of crusty meat-flavoured pastry.”
Portland popovers? In Morrisons? The angst was understandable.
“More reasons to shop at Morr-isons? There’s nay fookin’ reason now, friends. I’ll have nowt to do wi’em. Nowt, I tell thee.”
Alfred Mossborough spoke for them all. Martin Darnall reached into his pocket, and pulled out a black balaclava. He slipped it on, and several of his comrades followed suit. Each militant was presented with a ceremonial bag, brought out from a locked chest at times of Yorkshire distress. Inside, the weapons of war: flour, eggs, and milk.
Martin Darnall turned, and faced the crowd. He raised one clenched fist to the air, clutching his war-bag with the other, and roared to his people,
“Morrisons? We’ll fookin’ batter ‘em!”
Inspired by a prompt from here