Monday 24 May 2010

Yorkshire Pudding

I was in a clear minority of one regarding Sunday's Unitarian service in Hull by a brand new presenter, from the West Riding, because quite simply everyone enjoyed it whereas I thought with one of its stories hitting the intellectual low point (I heard it when a baby infant, one of my first memories) and its presumptions of beliefs I was silently critical. However, there was no doubt that this was a well communicated and thought-through service, with his child (the only one in the congregation) helping the mixing towards a Yorkshire Pudding, one you (deliberately) would not want to eat afterwards. Early on I quipped that this must be a demonstration by "The Unitarian Board for Healthy Eating." I invented such a commission.

The usual recipe is:

4 oz Plain Flour
1 medium sized egg
pinch of salt
some black pepper
½ pint of milk
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

If not a vegetarian put beef dripping into one large tin and cook until it smoulders (can be on a direct heat). While it so cooks, put the flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle, add the egg, stir until the two are combined then gradually adding the milk. Stir in half teaspoon of salt and sprinkle on black pepper. If there, add into the dripping until the batter is a smooth and thin consistency. Place in a hot oven until well risen in about 20 minutes.

But the point of the recipe was to imagine that a congregation is a Yorkshire Pudding. Ask which ingredient in a congregation are you?

  • Do you just make up the bulk, as in the flour? Gluten is a protein that helps contain the gases that make mixtures.
  • Are you versatile, as is an egg?
  • Do you bring out the best in others, like the salt?
  • Do you stimulate and spice up to release heat, sometimes afterwards (caught in the teeth), like the black pepper?
  • Do you smooth things over between others, like vegetable oil?
  • Do you help thicken matters and keep things moist and soft, like milk?

Later on, I was asked about my cooking for Yorkshire Pudding. I said, "Fifty pence at Aldi." (They might cost more) In other words, I don't cook but just heat up. Later still I was asked what element I am in the recipe. I said, "I'm the spoon," by which I meant the loser, the insignificant, as in getting the wooden spoon, but it was better interpreted in reaction as the person who stirs it, causes controversy.

The point was made to me that it was a good service because it stimulated people to ask what they did and what part they play in a Yorkshire congregation. Some had not heard of this analogy before. The reader here might ask the same question in their own collective situations.

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