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Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick

Yorkshire Puddings and Saran Wrap by Dawn Ruddick

I was reared on TV dinners, and Twinkies. Once, my mom even sent me to school with a cheese sandwich; featuring a Kraft Single, with the plastic wrapper left on. 

So at the age of seven, when I felt the first surges of culinary interest, I turned my back on my mother and her plastic fetish and wandered into my paternal grandmother's kitchen instead. Together we set ourselves a challenge: to pay homage to Britain's national edible muse, the Yorkshire Pudding.  

The recipe is simple: flour, eggs, milk, water and a dash of salt: that is all. But to make a perfect pudding, one that rises high on the sides yet dips low in the center, that is both crispy on the outside and slightly dense on the inside, is an art form that can't be gleaned from a cookbook - what you need is a well-aged British grandmother. And the only thing better than one of them is five. 

When my grandmother moved into an assisted living home in Northeast England, I attended a secret meeting. On the agenda? Yorkshire Puddings. Despite one Zimmer frame, two sets of false teeth, one hearing aid, and an incontinence problem, the room was as charged as a presidential campaign. Several decrees were passed on that day: Set the oven to a dangerously high setting; let the batter sit in the fridge for two hours; make sure the batter runs (not drips) from the whisk; and never, ever, open the oven door while the Yorkshires are rising. 

My grandmother died in September, so at Thanksgiving, there was only my mother sitting across from me for the post-pudding debrief. But it was no use. Before I could begin she was gone. I found her in the kitchen, happily wrapping the leftover Yorkshires in Saran Wrap.

Dawn Ruddick is from London, ON

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