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.

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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.”

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