Why do the British eat Toad in the Hole?

  • Published
  • By British Billy
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
British cuisine is not always given the credit it is due. I am sad to say that I have heard too many cheap jibes made about the food of this fine nation, and most of the comments are based upon very limited experience. Traditional British home cooking is among the best you will find anywhere, and British chefs feature prominently on the world's culinary stage.

So why are we eating amphibians? Very funny.

'Toad in the hole' is just a quaint little nickname given to sausages in batter - or Yorkshire pudding, as we proudly call it in the U.K. The origins of the name are shrouded in mystery, but seem to date from the 18th century, when you can find references to 'pigeons in a hole' in old recipe books.

Evidently, people then started throwing all manner of leftover meat into their Yorkshire puddings, until someone threw in a few sausages. 'That sausage poking out of the batter looks a bit like that toad I saw peeking out of a hole the other day,' they probably said to themselves, after a few tankards of the publican's finest ale. Had they seen a mouse or a frog, then no doubt this article would have had a different title.

Some of the best sausages in the country are made in this region, and for 'toad in the hole', you need to purchase a quality 'banger'. There are lots of different recipes and variations, so there are plenty of opportunities to experiment. Getting the Yorkshire pudding to rise is the tricky part. That's where it all tends to go wrong in our house. There have been more tears over failed 'toad in the hole' than I've had mice for supper.

On these cold, dark winter nights, 'toad in the hole' is a warming, filling and tasty dish. Search out a recipe and see what you can do. Who knows what variations you could create!

Which reminds me - maybe I should go and see what I can find in the garden to help out the chef. Now, where did I see that toad?