traditionally all those things that were cooked in a 'pudding cloth' were called puddings. So that gives you both the savoury (black pudding, white pudding, steak & kidney pudding, etc.) and the sweet (sponge pudding etc.) as well as Christmas puddings. Nowadays they are rarely cooked in a pudding cloth (which I think is somewhere in between a tea towel and muslin), but they have retained the name. Not sure why yorkshire pudding is called that though.
Pudding is also a generic term for "Nachtisch".
They are lovely- roasted, boiled (or boiled until just soft & then roasted for about another 10-15 minutes, preferably coated with cranberry sauce, or tossed in honey & sesame seeds, or with a sprinkling of mustard powder, or....), as soup or mashed. Parsnips really were something I missed in Germany- most of the other dishes one can at least make at home, even in Germany, but parsnips are difficult to find.
What's wrong with them? Young brussels, gently cooked until just soft, then tossed in butter and dusted with nutmeg are absolutely gorgeous.
another thing to try in England are soups- cheese and ale soup (with a puff pastry top) or a nice, hearty broccoli & stilton soup is hard to beat.
Looking forward to the Christmas gluttony- although celebrating Christmas itself in Germany, we'll have a pre-Christmas dinner here, including:
Poached salmon with a curry mayonnaise
Home cured, honey glazed roast ham
Turkey with chestnut stuffing (and with a mascarpone mixture between skin & breast to stop it from drying out)
Brussel sprouts with butter & nutmeg
Cranberry roast parsnips
Beetroot in blackcurrant jelly
Cranberry sauce (all home-made, of course)
Trifle (the full hog- i.e. the sherried sponge base, jam, custard, bananas (in Rum), raspberry-wine jelly, peaches, orange-wine jelly, mango, whipped cream with cointrau)
Christmas pudding (which I'm hoping to finish today)
Now I feel hungry... can't wait for Christmas time ;)