The Untold Truth Of Pudding

Some people think that pie is the most versatile food on the planet: You can have a fruit pie, a meat pie, or even a vegetable pie. Well, pudding may make you think twice about that statement. 

It's hard to beat a delicious serving of pudding. You may be most familiar with seeing the Jell-O pudding mixes on store shelves, but there's way more pudding out there than what you can find at the local supermarket. If you like the banana pudding that establishments like Magnolia Bakery sell, for example, you can either purchase it from them or make it yourself at home. Whether you're having a plate of warm peach pudding or using your leftover bread slices to put together a classic, easy-to-make bread pudding, there's a pudding out there for everyone, regardless if you prefer something sweet or savory.

Across the globe, pudding is a popular and well-loved food enjoyed by many. The proof is in the pudding (pun fully intended): Pudding is amazing, whether as a full meal, a dessert, or however you want to have it. That said, there may be some things that you don't know about this deliciously ubiquitous dish. Let's take our spoons and dip right into the untold truth of pudding.

Queen Elizabeth II seems to love her pudding

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't like pudding. Sure, some may not enjoy it because they aren't a fan of sweet things, but even then, there are more savory options to go along with their preferences. 

No matter what kind of pudding fits your preference, there's a type of pudding for everyone out there. That includes some of the most well-known figures around the world, such as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. One would expect someone of the Queen's stature and age to have a super healthy diet, but that doesn't mean she can't enjoy pudding every once in a while. A royal correspondent revealed that Her Majesty has a bit of a sweet tooth, and enjoys the occasional pudding at dinner (via Express). 

Furthermore, for the Platinum Jubilee (which celebrates the Queen's 70 years of service), former "The Great British Bake Off" judge Marry Berry and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, worked together to find a pudding that would be named in the Queen's honor (per Out of the 5,000 desserts that were entered into the competition, a lemon swiss roll and amaretti trifle took the crown. 

Pudding started out as a savory dish

Most Americans are familiar with sweeter (and sometimes fruity) pudding varieties, while someone from the U.K. may hold favor towards their savory puddings. Still, despite how different, diverse, and unique puddings have become — with more flavors and variations that we can count — they all have a common origin. 

According to British Food: A History, pudding was originally just sausage, or intestines that were stuffed with savory fillings. While pudding eventually came to be prepared in various ways, most early puddings were boiled. The article also claims that the word "pudding" comes from "botellus," which is Latin for sausage (as the French word for sausage is "boudin"). This would all date pudding to have been around since 1589 at the latest, and to have been first made by the English. 

Pudding has clearly evolved since then, however, as "pudding" doesn't always include sausage (or even meat) anymore. You can find puddings that are sweet, savory, or anything in between these days. This all goes to show that pudding is the perfect example of how food can be improved and changed in fun, delicious ways that anyone can enjoy.

There are loads of different national pudding days

While it may not be as popular a dessert as ice cream or pie, It's clear that pudding is still very much enjoyed around the world — and when people love something, it makes sense that they'd want to celebrate it. This isn't limited to a spouse or significant other on Valentine's Day. Food-centered days such as National Pancake Day or Chocolate Chip Cookie Day are celebrated by restaurants, stores, and even brands by crafting limited-time offerings based on what food-themed day it is. You may think we're leading to the idea that there's a National Pudding Day — and, well, you're partially right, because there's actually more than one day dedicated to pudding.

Depending on the kind of pudding that you enjoy, there may be a specific day for your favorite flavor. For example, National Vanilla Pudding Day is on May 22nd, while National Chocolate Pudding Day is on June 26th (via National Day). There are many days dedicated to sweet puddings, and there's even a day for a pudding served with more meaty meals. According to National Day, British Yorkshire Pudding day falls on February 5th. Can't find a day for your favorite pudding? Just go and have some, even if there's no big reason to celebrate.

There is a difference between English and American pudding

Certain dishes and food items are made differently around the globe. For example, you may find delicious New York-style pizza in New York. On the other hand, even though you don't have to go to Illinois to get it, the state is notorious for its deliciously filling deep-dish pizzas. Of course, pudding is no exception to this. In fact, by comparing a creamy American pudding to a classic English pudding, you'll find yourself staring at two completely different foods.

Most American puddings are sweet, generally encompassing flavors like chocolate or vanilla. There's also arroz con leche, a Mexican rice pudding (though that is also rather sweet, with cinnamon and sugar being key ingredients in the treat). However, if you cross the waters over to England, you'll find that the puddings there aren't as sweet, and tend to lean more towards the savory side. While there are sweet English puddings, if you ever hear the word "pudding" used in England, it's likely in reference to something like a Yorkshire or black pudding. The former is fried in gravy, while the latter is made out of meat (via Food Republic).

There have been claims that pudding may be a descendent of the dumpling

Many of the iconic foods that we love and enjoy today are derivatives of other great foods or ingredients (like how ice cream uses milk, or how chocolate comes from cacao beans). However, not all claims about the origins of certain dishes are true. A good example of this is pudding, which seems like it would be the product of making custard or ice cream a little differently. In reality, though, its history goes much further than that.

Oddly enough, dumplings have been associated with the origin of pudding. According to British Food: A History, some argue that because the first puddings were essentially sausages (made by intestines stuffed with fillings), they were somewhat like dumplings, most notably in the sense that they were filled with meats and other ingredients. However, these claims were traced back to 1726; much earlier pudding recipes (such as black pudding) exist. That said, it is still interesting to note the similarities between pudding and dumplings, lack of evidence notwithstanding.

Rice pudding was originally regarded as medicine

Lets talk about rice pudding for a minute. Arroz con leche translates to "rice pudding" or "rice with milk." It is a classic Mexican dessert, usually created with sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. It might not be as smooth as the chocolate- or vanilla-flavored puddings that you can make with store-bought Jell-O mixes, but it's just as creamy, sweet, and delicious as any other sugary pudding you may enjoy. There's more to this pudding than the cinnamon and sweet rice used in it, though — and it was actually seen as a medical remedy by earlier civilizations.

Back in the Middle Ages, most puddings were typically made with meat. Rice pudding wasn't actually seen as a pudding, but a treatment for digestive issues, which were a big problem during this period of time (via Oxford Reference). By the 19th century, however, rice pudding started to be perceived less as medicine and more as the delicious dessert we continue to make and enjoy today.

It's not the same thing as ice cream or mousse

In terms of texture and taste, dessert pudding is comparable to other desserts such as ice cream, custard, and mousse. There are profound differences, though.

Custard and ice cream are both sweet and creamy, much like pudding. However, unlike sweet puddings, custards and ice creams tend to be more firm and dense, and also contain more fats and vitamin A (via Foodstruct). Furthermore, dessert pudding has a bit more magnesium (and less cholesterol) than ice cream. Another notable point is that some puddings, like bread pudding, can be served warm, while ice cream can only really be served frozen.

Mousse is another deliciously creamy dessert that is comparable to a sweet pudding, but is actually quite different. Like pudding, mousse can come in different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, or raspberry. However, mousse is much lighter than pudding, and closer to whipped cream in terms of fluffiness (as per The Kitchn). The ingredients used in the process of making the base of mousse is also similar to pudding, albeit without the cornstarch. Still, no matter what dessert you prefer — whether it's ice cream, mousse, or pudding — they are all fantastic and flavorful ways to treat yourself after a meal.

Sylvester Stallone sold a high-protein pudding

We live in a world filled with low-calorie, gluten-free, and other various food alternatives to all of our favorite desserts. If you want an ice cream, cookie, or breakfast shake that suits your high-protein diet, then you can find protein-filled products in different stores. Ice cream brands such as Halo Top market themselves both as healthy alternatives to regular ice cream and as good sources of protein. Oddly enough, we have yet to see dessert pudding become an extremely popular protein-enriched product. That's not to say, however, that there haven't been any attempts. In fact, one of them even featured famous actor Sylvester Stallone on the label.

Sylvester Stallone's High Protein Pudding was a pudding product that was supposed to help bodybuilders, athletes, and sweet-toothed gym-goers in getting their fill of sweetness, while also complementing their protein-dense diets. However, a lawsuit and counter-lawsuit regarding the true creator of the pudding recipe were filed in 2004 and 2005, respectively, with Stallone and his business partners pulled into the mess (per the The Hollywood Reporter). The product has since been discontinued.

Pudding is a common filling for pies

As mentioned earlier, pies are among the most versatile foods on the planet. They can make for great meals if you like meat pies (and if you're vegetarian, you can easily find veggie pies out there as well). If you prefer something sweet, pies can be filled with fruit, paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just plain rich and chocolatey. Pecan pie, Boston cream pie, pumpkin pie – there are no limits to pie. Thus, it should come as no surprise that pudding can be a great addition to pies as well.

Pudding can be used as pie filling, functioning much like the cheese base of a cheesecake. The best part is that the only limit to a pudding pie is the flavor of pudding. If you want a chocolate pudding pie, then all you need is some milk, pie crust, and chocolate pudding mix. If you're looking for something less rich and more on the fruity side, banana cream pie is quick and easy to put together using pudding. No matter what your pie preference may be, try adding some pudding to it to make it a more flavorful dessert.

Pudding is a traditional Chinese dessert to celebrate the Lunar New Year

When you think of Chinese foods, Peking duck, fried rice, and dim sum are usually at the top of the list. As for desserts, mooncake may seem like a pretty good option. But did you know that there are also Chinese puddings, including some that are used to celebrate their Lunar New Year? 

An Eight Treasure Rice Pudding is a sweet rice pudding filled with colorful "treasures," supposedly to honor and represent eight ancient warriors (via Atlas Obscura). It's a traditional dessert still served today to celebrate the New Year, and the "treasures" that are included in the pudding can be various different fruits and nuts. Perhaps you're also familiar with P.F. Chang's bread pudding, a special  "Fire and Ice" dessert in celebration of the Lunar New Year (via Chewboom). This treat combined bread pudding and vanilla ice cream in a flaming chocolate shell (that's right: flaming). Whether it's a traditional recipe with special ingredients or a cold dessert on fire, pudding is undoubtedly a part of Chinese New Year celebrations, making a culturally significant event so much sweeter.