Sarah and Walter Pinder and their three children were Barr Colonists, among the close to 2,000 English settlers who arrived in Saskatoon in 1903. They were enticed to immigrate by Reverend Isaac Barr, who believed western Canada must remain firmly British, flying the Union Jack, singing "God Save the King" and, no doubt, serving roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for Sunday dinner.
Walter managed to build a small log house on the prairie (most Barr Colonists spent that first winter in tents in Saskatoon and Lloydminster), but he completely underestimated how much food they would need for the winter months. By March, the food was almost gone. Breakfast and supper were a gruel of flour and water, lunch was stewed rabbit, bannock and tea. It was impossible to make bread because the dough froze in the pan. It was that cold, even in the house.
Walter hitched the horses to the sleigh for the long ride to Battleford for supplies. While he was away, coyotes ate the rabbits. Then it was just bannock and gruel. Not a Yorkshire pudding in sight.
By 1911, half the population of Saskatchewan claimed British heritage. Even so, Yorkshire pudding didn't catch on in the same way that more "foreign" dishes did. Think perogies and borscht. Give it a try, and give thanks for a warm house in March. (Cook roast beef and gravy.)
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
In a blender, combine eggs and milk. Gradually add flour, blending all the while. Blend in salt. Heat oven to 400F. Put 1 tsp vegetable oil in each cup of a muffin tin. Place pan in hot oven until the oil is sizzling. Blend batter again. Quickly pour batter into the muffin tin, a scant 1/4 cup per hole.
Bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and lightly brown. Do not open oven door while baking or the "Yorkies" may deflate. Serve hot with roast beef and gravy.
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(This article first appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.)