Black Pudding Facts | All you need to know about Black Pudding
Black Pudding [or Blood Sausage] has been around for hundreds of years, so not only is it rich in flavour it is rich in history.
History & Origins
First mentioned in literature in 800BC, Black Pudding has been on the menu for a very long time!
Adding a new recipe or reviewing the latest cooking techniques is more relevant then writing about the history of a type of food, but Black Pudding (or Blood Sausage) has been on the table for centuries in numerous countries around the world. There are so many interesting historical, religious and cultural references relating to this occasionally contentious food source that we thought we’d share some of them with you. So we are going to track back through the ages to find out more about the history and origins of ‘Black Pudding’ with some facts (& tales). By way of an introduction we’ll start with a few of the reasonably well known facts.
10 Historical Facts about Black Pudding
- The earliest mention in literature referencing the food type is in Book 18 of Homer’s Odyssey, around 800 BC. [I]
“We’ve got these goat paunches on the fire, Stuffed with fat and blood, ready for Supper.”
- The oldest detailed recipe for Black Pudding is attributed to Apicius (a collection of Roman cookery recipes compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century AD), which uses lengths of intestine, rather than a stomach, as the container. The recipe is made with no cereal, but with chopped hard-boiled egg yolks, pine kernels, onions, and leeks. [I]
- In medieval times it was not unusual for even relatively poor families to own a pig, which was often slaughtered in the autumn. Making Black Puddings was therefore very common as they would let none of the animal go to waste. The pig’s blood was blended with minced onions and diced fat, spiced with ginger, cloves and a little pepper, and stuffed into lengths of intestine. [I / II]
- In 15th Century Britain puddings, rich with blood, fat and spices, became quite a delicacy, to be eaten on high days and holidays. Puddings, however, came to be associated with the idea of stuffing of any kind. The Pudding of Porpoise was a dish for the nobility: [II]
“Take the Blood of him, & the grease of him self, & Oatmeal, & Salt, & Pepper, & Ginger, & mix these together well, & then put this in the Gut of the porpoise, & then let it boil easily, & not hard, a good while; & then take him up, & broil him a little, & then serve forth.”[III]
- During the great Black Pudding controversies of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries it was rumoured that Sir Isaac Newton, a theologian and one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time, abstained from Black Pudding and Rabbits (whose meat remained bloody because they were killed by strangulation) on account of the Old Testament prohibition against eating blood. After his death, Newton’s niece, Catherine Conduitt, defended his reputation, stating that this was a matter of ethics rather than taste. [IV]
- Historians believe the first Bury [England’s ‘home’ of] Black Pudding was made and sold at Casewell’s Pudding Shop on Union Street, Bury in 1810. The shop was just an ordinary terrace house displaying the Lancashire delicacy in its window and the puddings were made there until it was demolished in 1968. [VI]Source: M.E.N.
- “Marag Dubh” – the Scots Gaelic name for a Black Pudding was first made by Stornoway Crofters who had to ensure that every part of the small number of livestock they kept was utilised to the full. When it came to killing the animal crofters would share the task and, in a time of no refrigeration, the meat with neighbours who in turn would return the favour at a later date, thus ensuring a meat supply during the long winter. [V]
- In 2007, Stornoway Black Pudding, produced in Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, under the EU’s Protected Food Name (PFN) scheme, a status to give consumers the utmost guarantee that they are buying the genuine, premium product. [V]
- The Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goute Boudin or ‘Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding‘ as it is known in France, is one of many fraternities in the country that are devoted to celebrating a specific ingredient. Since it’s inaugural event back in 1963, the annual Black Pudding competition at Mortagne au Perche in the Orne, France, invites pudding producers from all over the world to submit their latest sausage creations to judge the best!
- The annual World Black Pudding Throwing Championships are held in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester. The contestants throw Black Puddings at a 20ft (6m) platform holding Yorkshire puddings with the aim of knocking off as many of them as possible from it. The story behind the contest is based on an incident during the Wars of the Roses in the 1400s, when the armies for the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York ran out of ammunition and threw food at each other. [VI]Source: M.E.N.
We will come back to some of these in later articles in a little more detail. Our apologies if you have seen most of these before but they are an interesting starter for ten!
Credit & Reference Sources:
- The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson
- Food and Drink in Britain: From the Stone Age to the 19th Century by C. Anne Wilson
- Harleian MS 279, 15th Century England | Source:godecookery.com
- Bonhams Auction House
- Department of Environment | Protected food name scheme: UK registered products
- Manchester Evening News [M.E.N.] Online
Around the World
We're going to take you on a guided tour - Black Pudding | Blood Sausage is enjoyed in many Countries across the globe!
Health & Diet
Is Black Pudding good for your health? We will give you the facts for the pros & cons!
Just to be clear from the outset, we are not nutritionists or health experts and we are not trying to influence or suggest to you in any way that you should eat Black Pudding as part of a healthy controlled diet. BlackPudding.Club is about celebrating a quality food for it’s taste! Any associated health benefits of Black Pudding are a bonus which hopefully outweigh any negative factors. As with any food, making it part of your dietary regime is a matter of personal preference or choice and is often influenced by your lifestyle.
Just the Facts…
So how is BlackPudding.Club approaching the question ‘Is Black Pudding good for your health’? We are going to share some of the facts published by ‘qualified’ sources to offer a basic guide and insight to the health factors associated with Black Pudding.
Some of you may be aware Black Pudding was hailed a ‘Superfood’ at the start of this year by an online retailer and this prompted a mainstream media frenzy discussing it’s nutritional benefits. The initial claim, it would appear, was based upon marketing trends and not science or medical advice.
So we will do our best to give you the facts based on the latter two factors and what the experts say! For our first article, we will start with some of the nutritional basics (as much a lesson for us as for you) and if you want to know more you will be able to follow the links to those better qualified than us to explain in further detail.
In General Terms…
Eating Black Pudding, from a health perspective, is like choosing to eat anything else. There are potential upsides and there are potential downsides…all things in moderation! Our diets vary in terms of the quantity of food we eat on a daily basis, the variety and quality of foods we consume and the methods in which we prepare our food. Our exercise regimes and therefore our energy requirements are also different.
For an average person in reasonable health, any food, including Black Pudding, could be accommodated in their diet if they really want it. Returning to what we said at the start of the page, it is a personal preference or choice and ultimately if Black Pudding is part of your menu choice of the day then so be it! Enjoy it!!