Toad in the Hole

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

toad in the hole a traditional British dish consisting of something in the way of meat (now usually sausages) baked in a batter pudding, provokes historical questions of exceptional interest. What are the origins of the dish and how did it get its name?

Enquiries are best commenced from two starting points. The first is that batter puddings (whether baked in the oven by themselves or cooked under the spit or jack in the drippings falling from a joint—in the latter case they could be classified as yorkshire pudding) only began to be popular in the early part of the 18th century. Jennifer Stead (1991b) has drawn attention to entries in The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754–1765 (ed. Vasey 1984) and points out that Turner had sausages cooked in a baking tin with batter poured in and around them; not called toad in the hole by him but precisely foreshadowing what is now the most common form of that dish. Incidentally, Jennifer Stead’s essay is the best reference for studying the complex historical questions surrounding batter pudding and yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire.