I arrived home the other night to my wife toiling intently over a hot stove.
“What ya got cookin’ there?” I asked.
“Real chocolate pudding,” she answered.
I inspected her work and asked why she didn’t have any white bread heels in the pot. That really puzzled her and I realized my dad had never made chocolate pudding for her before he died.
The wife wanted to know why chocolate pudding was supposed to have bread crumbled into it because she had never had it that way herself. I said the only idea I had for why was that it added volume and stretched the pudding further while providing those bread heels with a purpose in life.
She turned the stirring spoon over to me and immediately called my mother to find out why my family ate pudding with bread in it. She told her the same thing I did, that’s the way my dad made it when he fixed. Knowing my dad never did anything more than pour a cup of coffee in the kitchen, my wife must have puzzled over this for a time the other night.
Actually, if it involved a chocolate dessert my dad did have culinary skills. When I was little he made that home-stirred chocolate pudding while mom fried the chicken. He would stir the filling for chocolate pies and he would make fudge.
He evidently cooked a lot for his family when he was little. In the winter everyone enjoyed it when he stirred up some fudge. Impatience meant that all his brothers and sisters demanded a piece of his handiwork before it cooled. One night he went around the living room dispensing it to everyone a stirring spoon at a time.
When he came to his dad he was asleep in his chair with his head tilted back and snoring loudly. No sense in him missing out, so dad just spooned his portion straight into grandpap’s mouth. He came up coughing, choking and sputtering and my dad’s fudge making became legend.
I thought surely some other backwoods types used to make chocolate pudding the way we did so I Googled it and a Paula Deen recipe popped to the top of the search. She was using leftover bread all right, but after she made her pudding she poured it over the top of the bread and baked the creation.
I like Paula Deen’s recipes and I like her show, probably because she demonstrates how many of us used to cook and eat 50 years ago on the farm. The downside is that Paula announced last week she has Type 2 diabetes, just like my dad and his children.
We were poor, we worked and played pretty hard and white bread in the pudding seemed pretty harmless. The other night, with the saucepan of hot pudding in front of me, and the bread within reach I successfully resisted.
I ate a great big bowl of pudding. It just didn’t have any bread in it.