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Over egg the pudding

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 23, 2008 at 19:05:

In Reply to: Over egg the pudding posted by Baceseras on April 23, 2008 at 13:48:

: : Just came across discussion in 2006 that was unresolved. It concerned the phrase "to over egg the pudding". The term egg in this case has nothing to go with chickens. Egg is derived from the Anglo Saxon Eggian, meaning to excite or agitate. It is still used in the phrase "to egg someone on". Thus in the original phrase it means to mix a pudding too much before baking it and so spoil it.

: I don't think so. At least, that's not how the phrase has been used in modern English. Not to "over-egg the pudding" means not to spoil something by 'improving' it too much. The eggs add a richness to the pudding, but enough is enough.

I don't think so either. Firstly, "eggian" meant to urge or incite, but nobody "urges" or "incites" a pudding. Nor does over-mixing spoil a pudding (unlike, say, pastry or meringues, which are indeed spoiled by being worked too much). But puddings such as Yorkshire pudding, bread-and-butter pudding, etc. need the right quantity of eggs. You mustn't be mean with the eggs - you have to use enough or they won't hold together - but you mustn't be too lavish either. If you over-egg the pudding it goes unpleasantly rubbery. (VSD)