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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, September 18, 2005

rice pudding

The food on which I was raised would probably be called coarse by some in our modern society. We usually had meat of some sort included, but it played a minor role compared to the vegetables that were involved. We had cooked greens (turnips, mustard or collards) at least once everyday, along with snap beans, peas, butterbeans, pintos, squash, okra, etc - along with cornbread.

My Mom prepared green beans in a skillet, cooked down almost to the consistency of leather, my older brother still likes them this way -- okra was fixed almost the same way with some meal mixed in.

Breakfast was always a big meal at our house with a seemingly endless supply of grits, with eggs and bacon or sausage. Fatback or streak of lean sometimes happened then but that was mostly reserved for meals later in the day.

In fact, grits were fair game for any meal and I remember some meals of not much more than grits and tomato gravy - the latter consisting of home canned tomatoes cooked with flour and/or other ingredients for thickening. Most nights my Dad would end his evening meal with cornbread crumbled up in a large glass of buttermilk -- I guess that was his dessert.

Years later, after Mom and Dad had retired and moved back to Mississippi, I had a hankering (desire - yen - craving) for the kind of rice pudding Mom made when we were growing up. I called Mom up to ask for her recipe, but like most cooks of that day, she didn't measure many ingredients, just added them until it looked or tasted right - as a result she had no exact recipe to give.

This started me on an experimental quest in search of the rice pudding of my youth. This was kind of like searching for the Holy Grail, except my seekings weren't particularly holy and there was no grail involved.

Being one of my first efforts at cooking, I tackled the chore with great inquisitive zest. I tried every recipe I could find, tinkering and modifying each one to try to recapture the deliciousness I remembered. Finally, after much wasted rice and other stuff, I concluded my endeavors when I realized that the taste for which I was searching was most likely so memory enhanced it was unachievable by mere mortals.

I have acquainted myself with the kitchen just a tiny bit since then and can make a scratch banana pudding that will almost add ounces on a person’s weight by just being in it's presence.

That reminds me that God can bring success and happiness to us, not necessarily because of, and most times in spite of, our own recipes. ec


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9/18/2005 07:57:00 AM  

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