This proverb dates back at least to the 14th century as "Jt is ywrite that euery thing Hymself sheweth in the tastyng", and William Camden stated it in 1605 in Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine as "All the proofe of a pudding, is in the eating", per Rogers' Dictionary of Cliche and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
The current phrasing is generally attributed to the 1701 translation by Peter Anthony Motteux of a proverb Miguel de Cervantes used in Don Quixote (1615), al freír de los huevos lo verá (“you will see it when you fry the eggs”).
The shorter form the proof is in the pudding, which is found in an 1867 issue of the British Farmer's Magazine, and came into common use in the United States in the 1950s, is becoming increasingly common, despite missing the point of the original meaning.
- You can only say something is a success after it has been tried out or used.
I know you didn't think it was a very good product, but just look at the fantastic sales figures. That's the proof of the pudding.
- 2019 October 23, Pip Dunn, “The next king of Scotland”, in Rail, page 50:
It begs the question: will this be a costly mistake? I think not, but the proof of the pudding is in a RAIL train test - so armed with stopwatch, measuring tape and notepad, it was time to head north to track one down and test it!
- ^ Proof of the pudding (Answers.com)
- ^ Re: Correct Cliche (Joel Wolfson, Imagelib mailing list, Monday, 10 June 1996)
- ^ “Proof of the pudding” in Gary Martin, The Phrase Finder, 1997–, retrieved 26 February 2017.
- ^ The proof of the pudding is [in] the eating. by Miguel de Cervantes (Quoteworld)
- ^ New Boundaries in Old Territory. Emory Studies in Early Christianity, volume 3, footnote 107
- ^ “The Manchester and Liverpool Agricultural Society: Meeting at Manchester”, in Farmer's Magazine, London, 1867, page 294:
- Following the example of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, instead of one of the more wide-awake maxims of our great-grandfathers, which teaches us that when we cannot get one thing to make the best use of the other, the meeting appointed to be held at Stourport last year was abandoned; although, as the proof is in the pudding, as seen at this and other gatherings, there was ample material even without cattle, to make a capital show.
- ^ “Proof of the pudding” in Michael Quinion, World Wide Words, 13 March 2004.
- ^ The American Heritage Dictionary, According to Ask Yahoo, "the proof is in the pudding" come from?", Tue 03 Sep 2002.