Sunday, 8 November 2009

Pease pudding hot...

Pease pudding hot, Pease pudding cold,
Pease pudding in the pot - nine days old.
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot - nine days old.

~Traditional English nursery rhyme, c. 1760

And some would like it fresh - thank you very much!

Pease pudding is traditionally a sort of thick soupy type dish made from various vegetables, but mainly yellow split-peas - it's served with ham or bacon. Most popular now though is green pea and ham soup. We Brits like to call savoury dishes 'pudding' just to keep you on your toes (think Yorkshire pudding, steak and kidney pudding, etc). Here's a pease pudding recipe.

The word 'pease' was the correct word for pea; 'peasen' was the correct plural of 'pease'. However, the word 'pease' was often mistaken for the plural of 'pea'; thus we now have 'pea' singular and 'peas' plural. This is known as back-formation in language. See also Online Etymology.

Words are great.


  1. My mom taught me this rhyme when I was a little girl, thanks for explaining where it came from. (o:

  2. Well who'd have thought it was a favourite in the USA! :) I love learning the history of old nursery rhymes.

    BTW I think the 9 days old thing refers to the fact that in th'owden days (the olden days ;) ) stews such as pease pudding would be bubbling over the stove for days, each day leftovers and scraps of this and that would be added to the stew.