January 6

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago today?

Jan 6 - 1:6:1766 New-York Gazette
New-York Gazette (January 6, 1766)

“Right Yorkshire MUFFINS, hot twice a Day.”

This anonymous advertiser most likely sold what is today known as Yorkshire Pudding.  These “muffins” were made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk or water, cooked beneath meat (usually beef) roasting on a spit above a fire, thus allowing fats and juices to drip into the muffins and flavor them.  William Kenrick’s The Whole Duty of a Woman included a recipe, called “Dripping Pudding,” in 1737.  Hannah Glasse published a similar recipe in The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy a decade later, bestowing the name “Yorkshire Pudding.”

Yorkshire_Pudding
It’s easy to see why Yorkshire Pudding could sometimes be called “Right Yorkshire MUFFINS.”

I would hazard to guess that Yorkshire Pudding is not a familiar food for most Americans today, though it seems to be quite common, even a traditional part of Sunday dinner, in England.  On both sides of the Atlantic, it is no longer known as “Right Yorkshire MUFFINS” or “Dripping Pudding.”  Today’s featured advertisement helps to evoke not only the smells and flavors of foods sold in colonial New York, but also the sounds of what they could have been called in the eighteenth century before “Yorkshire Pudding” became the standardized name.

Ellen Castelo offers this history of Yorkshire pudding, including a recipe.

*****

In researching this entry, I was delighted to discover that Yorkshire Muffins made an appearance in a late-nineteenth- or early-twentieth-century advertising campaign:  on a cigarette card included in the “Cries of London” series issued by John Player & Sons, a branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain and Ireland.  A street vendor hawked his wares, exclaiming, “Buy My Right Yorkshire Cakes.  Buy My Muffins.”

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47de-4a0b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w

Visit the New York Public Library Digital Collections for more information and to view both sides of the cigarette card.

2 thoughts on “January 6

  1. “Yorkshire muffin” is very unlikely to be the same as “Yorkshire pudding”: the first appears, according to the few references to it in Google Books, to be merely a variety of English muffin, that is, a small, flat, bun made from soft yeast dough and cooked on a hotplate or griddle, to be stored, and later split and toasted, while Yorkshire pudding is a batter pudding that does not contain yeast, only flour, eggs and milk, and is cooked in the oven and eaten hot, either with jam or as an accompaniment to roast beef.

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  2. You may be correct. I appreciate the additional information you’ve provided. As you note, Google Books includes few references. They seem to be from cookbooks published a century or more after this advertisement, which would permit the evolution of language over time I suggested. It’s also worth noting that the advertisement, brief as it is, explicitly states that “the Maker” sells the “Right Yorkshire MUFFINS, hot twice a Day.” This suggests to me that they are intended to be eaten warm and immediately rather than stored and later split and toasted. This advertisement offers little by way of appeals to customers: “hot twice a Day” seems to be central to marketing these muffins, suggesting what we know today as Yorkshire pudding rather than English muffins. If the muffins offered here were to be stored for later then why would the advertiser make a point of saying they can be purchased hot? I’m certainly interested in learning more about both, especially as they were prepared and recorded in cookbooks during the eighteenth century, in order to disambiguate the two a bit better.

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