This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
It is to be always remembered that solid Puddings are "filling at the price," needing a good power of digestion, and only to be partaken of in moderation, especially when coming after substantial meat. That "Too much Pudding will choke a dog" is a familiar adage conveying a homely truth; and that "Cold Pudding will settle your love" carries its own plain moral. Nevertheless, it is equally true that "Solid Pudding is better than empty praise." After all said and done, a practical cook shrewdly sums the matter up thus:-
"Oh, bother your books, and all their receipting, The proof of the pudding lies most in the eating".
During the first quarter of the past century, meat was a food-stuff seldom tasted by English cottagers, - not more often than five, or six times in a year. Beef-steak Pudding was a dish in which they indulged, but only when this was filled with onions in place of beef; or, except when some more affluent neighbour had been making "beef-tea" for ,an invalid, so that they could beg the spent beef, to concoct what they called with grim humour a "tea-leaves dumpling." Our English national dish, Plum-Pudding, was first known as Plum Porridge, being then compounded as described in Kitchen Physic. "On Christmas Day (1662)," as Pepys relates, "I dined by my wife's bedside with great content, having a mess of brave Plum Porridge, and a roasted pullet for dinner, and I sent for a mince-pie abroad, my wife not being well to make any herself yet".