Mrs. Beeton’s Manna (Croup) With an Added Touch of Darwin

I’m getting a bit peaked from lack of manna. The last time I managed to eat anything associated with manna was about a month ago. And it’s not from lack of trying.

So I was happy last night when I came across the inestimable Mrs. Beeton – who as is her wont, had an answer. ‘Mrs. Beeton’s Manna Croup Pudding’. I like pudding.

The recipe, linked here, says I need some manna croup to make it.

I haven’t seen manna croup on my grocer’s shelves so I had to find out what it was – and where to get it!

Mrs. Beeton had part of that answer for me, tucked away only as far as Chapter 42 of her tome.

2507. Semolina, or manna croup, being in little hard grains, like a fine millet-seed, must be boiled for some time, and the milk, sugar, and egg added to it on the fire, and boiled for a few minutes longer, and, when cold, used as the other preparations.

Semolina! Hey, I can handle that! And it won’t take Godly intercession, either!
I decided to see if there was any more information to be found on manna croup, and who should pop up but good old Darwin! Now Darwin does seem to be popping up everywhere lately, but how lovely to find him in a discussion of manna croup!

This is from a letter to Darwin from J.D. Hooker (who has a name like a snakeoil huckster to my mind), that starts of course with ‘My Dear Darwin,’ and goes on to say (among other things)

Seed of Glyceria fluitans is abundantly collected (from the wild plants) & eaten in Holland & Russia & exported also, being the true“Manna Croup”.—f5 Zizania was & is eaten abundantly by N. Am Indians, but is not cult.f6

I’m glad to know this but am now going to purposely forget about it and simply go back to plain semolina, for as I noted – I am getting a bit peaked here and want some pudding now rather than say, in four years or so by which time I might get all this sorted out.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s