’The proof is in the pudding”.

I find it hard to see how anyone can make any sense of this utterly senseless statement. It does not stand up to even the most cursory examination. Proof of *what*? We don’t know, nobody told us. And what pudding is this unidentified proof in? Black pudding? Bread pudding? Jack pudding? *Any* pudding? “The proof is in any pudding”. That still makes no sense at all.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, on the other hand, is a crystal-clear statement, requiring no elucidation whatever. It answers all questions about itself, where the truncated version answers none:

*What pudding*? Any pudding. “The pudding” is a generic pudding, as “the rattlesnake” (*“the rattlesnake is a poisonous snake of the family Viperidae”*) is a generic rattlesnake. *Proof of what*? The proof (i.e. test) of the pudding, of course. Of any pudding.

*What’s in the pudding*? NOTHING is in the pudding, other than its ingredients!! The proof is in the *eating* of the pudding, not in the pudding itself. “The way to test a pudding is by eating it”. Show me the half-wit who doesn’t understand that (journalists and politicians don’t count).

Correction: In fairness, i *can* think of one set of circumstances in which “The proof is in the pudding” makes sense of a kind:

*The time:* Christmas.

*The place:* the Scratchit home.

*The occasion:* Christmas dinner.

The Scratchit family are seated round the table, finishing off the last of the great dish of numbles generously provided by their neighbour, the horse-knacker. Ma Scratchit is in the kitchen. On the table in front of her sits the Christmas pudding, huge, glistening, steaming. She opens a bottle of rectified spirits, and carefully pours a generous pint into a purpose-built crater in the top of the pudding; then, after taking a quick swig from the bottle, she ceremoniously ignites the thing with her candle, and carries it triumphantly to the dinner table, crying *“The proof is in the pudding!” *

http://www.sizes.com/units/proof_alcoholic.htm

*(stumbles back to the cupboard with the bottles)*