The Proof Is in the Pudding

Contributor: Jessica Condolo Hubsch. Lesson ID: 13875

Is the proof really in the pudding? And what does it have to do with literature? Travel to the Middle Ages to discover the origin of the expression and how to support your ideas with textual evidence!


Literary Studies, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever heard the expression the proof is in the pudding?

chocolate pudding

No, not that kind of pudding!

This phrase refers to a classic medieval meat pudding.

In the Middle Ages, pudding was a sausage. The word pudding can be traced back to the Latin word botellus, which means sausage.

  • Savory or sweet aside, what does it mean to say the proof is in the pudding?

Find out why we use this expression and what it has to do with the medieval poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."

Now that you know what medieval pudding is, learn more about this meaty expression and how it relates to medieval poetry.

The Proof Is in the Pudding

The expression the proof is in the pudding used to be a bit longer. People were first recorded saying the proof of the pudding is in the eating in the 17th century.

  • Remember how the pudding was made with sausage?

In the Middle Ages, sanitation was not up to today's standards, so contamination of ingredients, such as meat, was widespread. This meant that people had to be very careful about what they ate — and a bad pudding could be fatal.

So, to say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating meant the following.

You won't know if the pudding is good until you taste it.

If the pudding tastes like the meat has spoiled or if you get sick, you have the proof or evidence that the pudding is not good.

boy holding stomach

  • What does this have to do with medieval poetry?

As you write a short analysis of the poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," you will need to find the textual evidence — or proof — to support your analysis.

Textual Evidence and Inferences

Break down these terms.

Textual evidence is an explicit or direct example taken from the text.

To convince others to believe your analysis of a text, you must provide specific examples from the reading.

An inference is an educated guess you make based on the opinions and ideas you form while reading a text.

You can use textual evidence to support your opinions and ideas!

Three Easy Steps!

  • How do you use textual evidence to support your ideas?

In three easy steps!

Step 1: Take Notes When Reading

The first step happens before you start reading!

Sometimes, remembering where you saw important details, such as a quote or event, can be hard in the text. To make your life easier, writing down details that seem important to you when you see them is a good idea.

You can do this on a sheet of paper following this example.

notes example

When you read "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," this will help you find what you are looking for when you write your analysis. Work smarter, not harder!

Step 2: Make Inferences

The next step is to tell your reader what you believe.

  • What do you think?
  • What is your opinion?

Step 3: Cite the Details

You need to support your ideas with details.

  • Why do you believe your idea is true?
  • Why should other people believe it, too?

Move to the Got It? section to find the proof in the pudding in the medieval poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."

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