The other day I was reading through my list of blogs and came across one which had a discussion of “pudding.” It took me a few sentences to realize the writer was talking about dessert. Once I realized that, I thought of a New Zealand friend who always wants to know “what’s for pud?”
The sweet that is eaten at the close of a meal is known as dessert in my life. It is never referred to as pudding or pud. Pudding is a sweetened thickened creamy milk product, sort of the consistency of yoghurt. It can be eaten for dessert but dessert can be many other things as well … cookies, pastries, pie, cake, ice cream, even Jello with fruit or plain with whipped cream.
I believe what I know as pudding is referred to as custard in other parts of the world. Here, again, we have a difference of opinion. Custard is a cooked or baked egg and milk concoction. It can be baked into a pie or served on its own. It may be topped with fruit, particularly berries.
When I was growing up, dessert was a treat. We never had it during the week. My mother would perhaps make something for dessert on the weekend but not always then. In an effort to get milk in my diet — I didn’t like milk at all and still am not crazy about it — she would fix pudding for our dessert. But it was always referred to as “dessert.”