All this effort for only half an ounce... it must seem odd for non-espresso drinkers. It may seem odd for espresso drinkers who simply shoot back the liquid but never really taste it. I suppose, at face-value it could be unfairly deemed a waste of time, considering the effort it takes. But what's the point in rushing around, if you can't take the time to enjoy a quality moment every now and then. So, to the case in point, several minutes of my life spent creating an espresso. From sourcing good green, roasting, sampling, blending, tweaking, shot pulling to "dial it in" and finally to the end-state of savouring the shot. Why do it, well "the proof is in the pudding" (something I am known to say on occasion), an old proverb.
Of course I was a little concerned when writing the last paragraph that some readers may not be familiar with this rather old British proverb. So I did a two minute check on the origin to be sure I could provide some relevancy. For those of you who don't have a fast-paced, short-attention-span, see the primer below on ye olde proverb. What I find ironic, is while I am espousing the need to show some passion, devote some time and not cut corners in certain (if not all) things, the proverb as I used it, is flawed and I didn't know it until I took the time to learn more about it. I suppose what you are about to read could be used as a direct analogy referring back to espresso; in that a person's current understanding of what is correct may not be sound, based on where they gained that experience - I know I have made that mistake.
Anyway, if you made it this far, congratulations, but you will need to read the remainder for any of this to make sense.
"Perhaps it's a sign of our increasingly fast-paced, short-attention-span society that even our old proverbs are being shortened and clipped down from the original full sayings. Word Detective and other etymology sites pointed out that the phrase originated as "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." It means that the true value or quality of something can only be judged when it's put to use. The meaning is often summed up as "results are what count."
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the phrase dates back to at least 1615 when Miguel de Cervantes published Don Quixote. In this comic novel, the phrase is stated as, "The proof of the pudding is the eating."
Word Detective and the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms note that the phrase came into use around 1600. However, a bulletin board quotes The Dictionary of Cliches, which dates the phrase to the 14th century. The board also mentions a 1682 version from Bileau's Le Lutrin, which read, "The proof of th' pudding's seen i' the eating." A page of pudding definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary also cites the author Boileau (Bileau) as the first to use the phrase. So it seems likely that the phrase dates back to the 1600s, though the identity of its author is disputed.
These days, some people shorten the phrase to simply "proof of the pudding." Even the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language trims it down. Occasionally, it is even further abbreviated to "proof in pudding," irritating purists who argue that the shortened versions don't mean anything on their own. Let's just hope it doesn't get further reduced any time soon. "Proofpudding" just doesn't cut it."
May 12, 2006