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Norfolk Dumplings


Plain white wheatflour dumplings, boiled with stew or in gravy (Acton 1845, etc).

Original Receipt in 'The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy' by Hannah Glasse, 1747 (Glasse 1747);

To make Norfolk dumplings.
MIX a good thick batter, as for pancakes; take half a pint of milk, two eggs, a little salt, and make it into a batter with flour. Have ready a clean sauce-pan of water boiling, into which drop this batter. Be sure the water boils fast, and two or three minutes will boil them; then throw them into a sieve to drain the water away, then turn them into a dish and stir a lump of fresh butter into them; eat them hot, and they are very good.

Norfolk Dumplings are just ordinary, plain, dumplings. So ordinary that that they have spent some time as synonyms for ordinariness. In 'Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow' Jerome K. Jerome says "What would the world do without ambitious people, I should like to know? Why, it would be as flabby as a Norfolk dumpling. Ambitious people are the leaven which raises it into wholesome bread. Without ambitious people the world would never get up. They are busybodies who are about early in the morning, hammering, shouting, and rattling the fire-irons, and rendering it generally impossible for the rest of the house to remain in bed."

Captain Grose's 1811 'Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue', gives for 'Norfolk Dumplins': "A nick name, or term of jocular reproach to a Norfolk man; dumplings being a favourite food in that county."

William Carew Hazlitt says that "Norfolk dumplings were celebrated in John Day the playwright's time. He has put into the mouth of his east-country yeoman's son, Tom Strowd, in 'The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green,' written long before it was printed in 1659, the following: "As God mend me, and ere thou com'st into Norfolk, I'll give thee as good a dish of Norfolk dumplings as ere thou laydst thy lips to;" and in another passage of the same drama, where Swash's shirt has been stolen, while he is in bed, he describes himself "as naked as your Norfolk dumplin." "

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