Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Puddin Tame

My life in appalachia - Puddin Tame

I’ve told you before-I was backwards as a child. Actually, sometimes I still am.

The other day I remembered an old saying I heard often when I was little-but haven’t heard in years. When I was hiding behind Granny’s dress or hanging on one of Pap’s britchey legs, someone would say to me: “Whats your name? Puddin Tame ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.” I believe I was supposed to answer the reply to the question-but I guess the asker took one look at my big brown eyes and knew I wasn’t going to say anything.

Have you ever heard the old saying?

Tipper

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

 

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46 Comments

  • Reply
    Judy Imanse
    April 20, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    My mother, who died last year, was 98 years old. She used to recite this when I was little, I’m close to 77, and I believe it came from her mother. My grandmother’s family moved to Indiana from North Carolina.

    What’s your name? Puddintane. Where do you live? down the lane. What do you do? teach school. How many students? 22. What do they sit on? little stools. ‘What do they look like? little fools!

    • Reply
      Lori
      September 17, 2020 at 9:47 am

      I have a similar story, when I was a little girl, I would recite the question and answer upon prompting. I think I entertained the grownups with that rhyme.

  • Reply
    Bill Danner
    November 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    It is from “The King of Boyville” by William Allen White, which is part of “The Court of Boyville” written in 1899. It is in response to an inquiry to the main character Piggy Pennington inquring as to his name and the answer got the smaller new boy soundly thrashed. Well worth the read – good 1899 slang.

  • Reply
    Luann
    August 12, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Hadn’t heard this in years and really enjoyed everyone’s comments–Elithea, Ed, Miss Cindy and more. Always enjoy your posts and learn a lot, too!

  • Reply
    Lonnie
    August 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    We’ve said it all our lives–got it from Mother, of course. And…what Miss Cindy said…just copy and paste her second paragraph!

  • Reply
    elithea
    August 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

    “I think “pudding time” is apt. It is probably old enough (1546, OED), it
    was not narrowly limited in dialect AFAIK, and it makes a good-enough joke,
    the sense presumably “No need for my name, just call out ‘pudding time’
    [i.e., ‘time to eat’] and I’ll appear.” Cf. the 20th-century [and probably
    earlier?] joke: “You can call me anything, as long as you don’t call me
    late for dinner.” However, I would like the rhyme to be maintained. Was
    “time” pronounced to rhyme or nearly rhyme with “name” in ca.-1500 England,
    perhaps? Or could it be regional?…”
    i’m thinking scotland…

  • Reply
    elithea
    August 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

    “In fact “pudding tame” and variants (pudding/puddin’ [and] tame/tane/tang)
    are used today with the sense “I won’t tell you my name” (e.g., often as a
    ‘handle’ or pen-name on the Internet, = “Anonymous”). The expression was
    used in the “X-files” TV program in 1999.
    The rhyme appeared in the US by 1895, when it was cited in “Dialect Notes”.
    Already we’re out of the “poontang” milieu, I think; but in case there’s
    any doubt, I find quoted from 1861 a version supposedly from ca. 1825
    (apparently from Sussex?):
    What’s yer naüm?
    Pudding and taüm.
    Back a little further (ca. 1590), I find reason to believe there was
    approximately:
    [What is your name?]
    Pudding of Thame.
    Now at least the expression has some surface sense, maybe. Thame is a
    place-name — in particular a town in Oxfordshire, I believe. So “pudding
    of Thame” might have been the name of a food, perhaps similar (or at least
    analogous) to Oxford sausage, say. Still the expression is meaningless in
    the context, and I wonder whether (1) it might even earlier have been
    something else (“pudding at home”? “Pudding Tom”? “pudding time”?) which
    maintained the rhyme in some early or regional pronunciation, and whether
    (2) there is some recognizable double-entendre or other joke here in 16th-century (or earlier) English.”

  • Reply
    quinn
    August 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    What’s your name?
    PuddinTane!
    Where do you live?
    In a sieve!
    What’s your number?
    Cucumber!
    I learned it as a rhyme for jumping rope and clapping games and such. Really answering like that would have been very fresh…and probably not something I’d have tried a second time!

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    August 10, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Hi Tipper, You were a beautiful child and a beautiful lady. I remembered the Pudding and tame poem when you mentioned it. I have not heard that in all my adult years..Have a wonderful week. I enjoy your blog so very much. I am copying your recipe for the hush puppies you had a few days ago..

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 10, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Oh, Tipper, thank you so much for reviving a long forgotten childhood memory. My dad used to say it when I was little. Sure do wish I could remind him.

  • Reply
    Carol Killian
    August 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I have not heard the expression since I was a child (many years ago). You were a beautiful child. Also, I was so timid I would hide behind Mother’s coat.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    August 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Yes, I am familiar with the saying, but hadn’t heard it in years.
    What a sweet picture! Love the little doll bed!

  • Reply
    Charline
    August 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Yes, I heard that all my life, mostly from my mother. She also said the “John Brown’ one and the cucumber, etc. Sometimes, she still does! I never sensed that any adult expected to be answered “Puddin’ ‘n Tame”- or, ‘tane’, but probably would have been in stitches (oh-so-cute) if we had.I always thought it was an old playground rhyme.
    It seems that some among us bloggers have varying definitions of ‘backwards’. Some use it for being shy. It doesn’t always mean ‘unenlightened’-or worse- as some take it. Again, a regional or familial definition.
    How I love Jackson County- really wish I could go tonight!
    Sweltering in FL.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    August 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I heard the phrase many times growing. Sorry I will miss Don and Wendy’s presentation. I am a member of Jackson County Genealogical Society, but from FAR away. One of these days…

  • Reply
    Penny
    August 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I grew up with it: Puddin ‘n tame! Never questioned where it came from or what it meant. It was just another funny thing my father played with us. He always thought he was so funny and would repeat the same corny things over and over–like someone going south on a truck load of p’taytas, or “who dat say who dat when I say who dat!?” or some other little ditty like the man from hoo-doo.

  • Reply
    sarahsbookreflections
    August 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    “Puddin’ Tane” was the way we said it in Maryland, always with a sassy tone. Speaking of words, I think Tipper’s meaning for “backward” is shy. For me, it means mentally challenged, which doesn’t fit Tipper at all.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    August 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Tipper
    As a child I heard the puddin tame saying many times. Never really thought about it’s origin until now.Sense it is just a boring day I decided to try to figure out where it came from and did find a little info on it. It started as a short story called “The King of Boyville” from the book, The Real Issue By William Allen White in 1896.
    “When a new boy, who didn’t belong to the school, came up at recess to play, Piggy shuffled over to him and asked him gruffly: “What’s your name?” “Puddin’ ‘n’ tame, ast me agin an’ I’ll tell you the same,” said the new boy, and then there was a fight”
    As far as you being backward I would have to ask if the word was used as a adjective or adverb which could have a great affect on the meaning. As an adjective one of the definitions being reluctant or shy. I think this can be considered when you were talking about the stranger walking to meet you husband and you hesitated to approach. This could have also been that sense you had one of the twins with you that you were being protective. Sounds more to me that you are a good mother and just a little shy. Sorry about trying to write a book. 🙂

  • Reply
    Bradley
    August 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Whoa! What a picture! Wonder if Granny saved that little doll or maybe those little brown shoes? Can’t believe you were backward but, ain’t that they said about Albert Einstein?
    Used to have a little friend when I was little that would always say that Pudin Tane thing.
    Wish I could have had several little girls like the one in the Photo!

  • Reply
    kat
    August 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Oh my, haven’t thought of puddin tane in many years.

  • Reply
    Wanda
    August 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Puddin Tane for us. You were a sweet little girl!!

  • Reply
    Ken
    August 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Tipper,
    Nice picture and I agree totally
    with Miss Cindy about our
    Appalachian Champion. When my
    mama’s mama came to visit, she’d
    do the puddin’ tame thing with us
    too, then bend over and gently
    pinch my pudgy little cheeks. I
    could get a closer look at her big
    ball of hair wadded up on the back
    of her head. At bedtime she’d let
    it down and could rival Crystal
    Gale’s long hair…Ken

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    August 9, 2012 at 11:49 am

    My mother used the rhyme when my sister and I were toddlers.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 9, 2012 at 11:49 am

    oh yes! many times. Did you ever get asked “Railroad crossing – look out for cars. Can you spell that without any “R’s?” I’m not telling how old I was before I figured it out!

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    August 9, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Good morning to all. I do remember that saying, probably only from the school yard as a teasing retort to another child. That kind of response to an adult would not have been tolerated by either of my parents, they were very strict about respecting your elders. When I was little people would ask what’s your name, if I was to shy to answer they would say “Oh I bet the cat’s got your tongue.” or ” What’s the matter has the cat got your tongue?”

  • Reply
    JOHNIE T. ARANT
    August 9, 2012 at 10:42 am

    TIPPER
    I HAVE THAT AND I HAVE SAID
    IT MANY TIMES AS A CHILD BUT I
    HAVEN’T HEARD IT IN YEARS.
    TIPPER I DON’T THINK THAT YOU
    ARE BACKWARD YOU WRITE BEAUTIFUL
    THINGS I HOPE YOU WILL CONTINUE
    SENDING THEM TO ME I ENJOY READING
    THEM.
    JOHNIE IN ARKANSAS

  • Reply
    Judith
    August 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Hello All,My mother (almost 80) said that her mother always said that to them when they were little. I remember my grandmother and my momma saying it to us as well . Momma couldn’t remember any thing else that was said with the statement you gave. Thanks for the reminder I can use it to tickle my grandkids. Judith

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Tipper–I remember that and other somewhat similar “sayings” or “ways.” For example, when someone in the family said “Hey” (not in the sense of hello but as a means of getting attention or admonition), a frequent response was: “You better save your hey (hay); you might marry a mule.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Celia Miles
    August 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I heard it often way back then, but it was puddin’ and (or a)tane. celia

  • Reply
    Jen
    August 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Sounds familiar, but I think I am remembering it the way Laura Williams is..Pudding Tang.Wonder where it came from.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    August 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Heard it a lot as a kid, not so much lately. There was another, even less polite version: What’s your name? John Brown. Ask me again and I’ll knock you down.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    August 9, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Oh yes, heard it a lot growing up. Haven’t heard it in quite while though. Thanks again reviving old memories!

  • Reply
    Shirla
    August 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I have always said Puddin Tang, not Tame. I had an uncle that used to say, “has the cat got your tongue?”, when we wouldn’t answer a question.
    That little Chitter-Chatter look alike in the picture is too cute to be backward!

  • Reply
    Bob Adcock
    August 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Down in “wiregrass country” it was common. Also, the esteemed Barney Fife used it in an Andy Griffith episode!

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    August 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Yes, my mother said it all the time. She said it emphatically, too, like she was imitating someone she had heard say it back in her past.

  • Reply
    Lise
    August 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Ha ha, I recall that phrase, but I knew it as what’s your name…puddin tane (tane where I was from)…where do you live…down the lane…what’s your number…cucumber…
    On and on, can’t remember the rest. Made me chuckle remembering:)
    I wish I were in town and able to attend the presentation tonight, I would have loved to have been there!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Great photo! I have heard Puddin Tane for as long as I can remember. Just who was this Puddin anyway?
    Found this on the web: It is a play on the name of an Irish high chief who was known as the Tain with his specific name in front of it. The Puddin” Tain was someone of not royal status but someone who had pretentions and was deridded with the name high King of the Puddings. later it became a Children’s rhyme of Scots-Irish origin.
    What’s your name?
    Puddin’ Tain.
    Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.

  • Reply
    warren
    August 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I heard that all the time as a kid and I still say it to irritate my kids!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    August 9, 2012 at 8:23 am

    That really sounds interesting. I don’t get over there, but it would be interesting to read about their selected topic. Yes, I do remember that saying. My dad would use it to makes us laugh.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Tipper, I can see you being a shy little girl. You are a quiet person, but never backward. I guess backward brings to mind Deliverance to me.
    You have such a rich inner life. You are quiet but with a keen intellect that is ever vigilant and thinking. This is abundantly obvious from the things you write. There could not ever be a better champion for Appalachia!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    August 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Heard it and still say it ‘cept it was “Puddin-tang” what I heard and still say.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    August 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I have never heard that before … cute picture.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    August 9, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I have heard that saying all my life but it has been a while now since I have heard it also.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 9, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I’ve heard and used this expression as long as I can remember but used as a kind of smart aleck response when someone asks your name. Tipper I don’t think you were backward, I think you were waiting until you had something worth while to say unlike me and some of your other guests on “The Blind Pig”.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

    My name is also Puddin. Puddinhead Jones. Glad to meet you. Reckon we are related?
    When he was younger my grandson, when asked what he had learned in school that day, would always reply “apparently not enough, they’re making me go back tomorrow.”

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    August 9, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I remember it well. I came home from school saying it,and my mother said it wasn’t nice. I never heard an adult say it. By the length of your bangs, I think you are younger. You look like my daughter. You sure were cute!

  • Reply
    kathryn Magendie
    August 9, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I do remember that — and you were, and are still, adorable! *smiling warmly at you!*

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