TIM REID of The Times of London reports that sales of the spongy steamed pudding known in Britain for the past century as "spotted dick" have plummeted in recent years. Retailers wanted to know why, so the Tesco supermarket chain conducted a survey and identified the problem lickety-split. Shoppers are embarrassed to be seen purchasing the product, let alone ask for it by name. Tesco's proposed solution? Rename it "spotted richard."
The very idea so perturbs members of the arch-traditionalist Pudding Club (their slogan: "Mad About Puddings") that they have already denounced it as an outrage. "Spotted dick has always been spotted dick and there is no reason to change that," snipped chief pudding taster Simon Coombe in The Times. But political correctness may well win the day.
Incidentally, no one knows for sure where the name "spotted dick" came from, though some say "dick" was at one time a synonym for "dough." Add raisins, steam for two hours, and voila, spotted dick (or Richard, if you're fashionably prudish).
If the peer pressure is just too overwhelming, one can, of course, make one's own spotted dick at home.
Sanity has prevailed, it seems, and Tesco officials have decided not to change the name of Britain's favorite pudding. In response to the announcement, Pudding Club chairman Peter Henderson reiterated the predominant view of the membership: "We think that changing the name to Spotted Richard was totally ridiculous in the first place."
Sources and further reading:
Clever Dicks Try to End a Spot of Embarrassment
The Times, 27 August 2001
Pudding Purists Win Spotted Dick Battle
Independent Online, 11 September 2002
Spotted Dick Back on Menu
BBC News, 10 September 2002