On August 1st every year people in Yorkshire celebrate the largest county in England, also nicknamed " God's own Country!". When you see the vast areas of untouched countryside with its lush green pastures it is not difficult to see why it is nicknamed so.
Actually that is a slight exagerration......even most people in Yorkshire don't know that August 1st is Yorkshire day. It is almost an oxymoron to say that Yorkshire men celebrate, they are known for being very straight laced, to the point on frugal, the idea of yet another marketing ploy to pay out on something would probably have most Yorkshire folk reeling in fury than celebrating! What a massive sweeping generalisation that is, yet I feel it is one I can make being wed in to the Yorkshire clan and increasing their numbers with my offspring.
Whilst you are unlikely to see Yorkshire people lining the card manufacturing companies pockets, you would see in a heart beat that they are very proud of their beautiful county, so they should be, here are a few reasons why;
The Yorkshire pudding
This great food find was invented once Britain started to make use of wheat flour. In 1737 in a publication called " The whole duties of a woman" ( very nice!), a recipe was given for a batter mix that was to make use of the dripping that fell in to the tray beneath a roasting joint of meat. It wasn't until 1747 that the pudding was indeed named " The Yorkshire pudding" by a cookery writer of that time called Hannah Glasse.
Yorkshire pudding recipe and instructions
Yorkshire puddings should be made with 140 g of plain flour in a bowl and add 4 eggs, you need to beat in the eggs slow and steady. They will not really mix fabulously until you then start beating in 200 ml of milk. Add these together and take your time should give you a lump free batter, to which you should season with salt and pepper to your personal preference.
Drop a small amount of oil in a roasting tin( enough to coat the bottom only) to make a big one, or a drop in each individual muffin space to make mini Yorkshire puddings. You will then need to turn your oven on to at least 200-220 and make sure the fat gets spitting hot. Be careful when taking the tray out and then place the batter in the tray as quickly as possible, place back in the oven and cook until golden brown. You will clearly tell when a Yorkshire pudding is done as if it is not ready it looks very pale and lethargic. The length of time depends on the size and thickness of the batter so just keep an eye and don't stray far when cooking Yorkshire puddings.
Yorkshire pudding tends to be eaten one of 4 ways nowadays.
1- Traditional roast beef dinner with mini Yorkshire puddings as an accompliment.
2- A giant Yorkshire pudding, cooked in a flan dish( approx 7 inch) , filled with onion gravy. This tends to be a starter course.
3- As a sweet with jam on. Mainly found in lower class homes as a cheap alternative to bread etc.
4- Toad in the hole. No we don't cook actual toads, it is sausages in the batter mix before the Yorkshire pudding is cooked.
Old superstition alert
If you are pregnant then your Yorkshire puddings won't rise!
Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Yorkshire County Cricket Club was founded in 1863 and is currently THE best County Cricket club in England and Wales. Cricket is a very age old Yorkshire sport and you must be Yorkshire born to play for their team or you can not play for them. Yorkshire County Cricket Club can be found in their home ground of Headingly Carnegie Cricket Ground, Leeds.
Yorkshire Poet W. H. Auden
That is correct, if you didn't already know it, the famous poet Wystan Hugh Auden was born in York in 1907. Auden was only born in Yorkshire as his parents moved the year after he was born, yet his poetry includes some very deep imagery and sentiment of Yorkshire. An Oxford graduate and one of the most respected poets of the 20th century, what a Yorkshire treasure to remember.
W.H.Auden was as most poets and writers of the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century, very controversial and influentual. His poems are very important and strong in politics, love, morals, citizenship( he moved to the US).
Some of W.H.Auden's more famous poetry include,
"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,The imagery that Auden brings even with in the first stanza shows he includes everything in his description and places a person firmly in the scene of his poetry.Auden had a significant collection of poetry that is well known by poetry lovers, such as, " The Unknown Citizen", "The Fall of Rome", "The Shield of Achillies" among many many more. He left us such a gift.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come."
William Wilberforce was such a world wide character but he was born in Yorkshire's very own Hull. When we think of slavery we think of Africans being kidnapped from places like Sierra Leone and William Wilberforce was one of the British Parliament that was trying and succeeded to create the Slave Trade Act of 1807. This act abolished British Empire slave trading but did n0t make Slavery itself illegal. This happened after much pressure with a new act to replace that of 1807, called Slavery Abolition Act 1833. William Wilberforce came under much scrutiny at home because as you can imagine being a politician he had a very conservative upbringing and he closed his eyes to much of the slavery and repression in Britain whilst being contradicting in fighting for abolition abroad.
Of course in modern society he is no longer scrutinised and is a man much admired from history.
York City Walls
Yorkshire doesn't just have people and food to be proud of, also amazing history and land marks.
York is one of the most historical and powerful Cities in England. The York walls have been there since Roman times but have been repaired and extended by many, such as the Danes and the Normans among others. A defensive structure that was not simply straight walls but an arrangement including look out towers.
York was important as a mini London (as it were), holding it's own Minster and Castle. There have been important meetings and ecclesiastical events held in York since Roman times and before that era York belonged to the territory of the Brigantes.
William the Conqueror sacked the City before rebuilding it when he took York back from a civil rebellion. It was also badly damaged by King Henry VIII in the Dissolution of the monasteries and besieged again by the Parliamentarians in 1644 during the Civil war.
In today's time, York is very rich in museums and scholars. There is much for a visitor to learn and view in this great City.
With a County steeped in history, beauty, danger, battles, royal connections and successful people, it is easy to see why the Yorkshire people are proud enough to have a day dedicated solely to their County.