proof of the pudding

The aphorism is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It is often misrepresented as the proof is in the pudding, which makes no sense. Proof, in this case, is used in the sense of test or evaluation.

It’s an old proverb, dating to 1623 at least, when William Camden includes it in a list of proverbs in the 3rd edition of his Remains Concerning Britain:

All the proof of a pudding is in the eating.

The proof is in the pudding version comes some three centuries later when it appears in the Hammond Times (Indiana) of 27 October 1936:

The proof was in the pudding last night at Perrin’s recreation parlor as Johnny Layton, many times world champion at three-cushion billiards, swept to a 35-6 exhibition victory over luckless Harry Miller.

(Source: Yale Book of Quotations; Newspaperarchive.com)

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