A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cold, Cold Day and Comfort Food

I remember cold days in the past, when my Mom would be in the kitchen just about all day. She would prepare a hearty, hot, meal for us.We lived on the outskirts of town...a little development called Sunset Park... after the war. There was no bus service, when we first moved in. Dad had to walk to work...many miles each day. He worked at night and never missed a day of work. Mom was a stay at home Mom...she took care of the house and family while he was gone. Because he had this long walk, in all kinds of weather, Mom always catered to Dad in the meals she would prepare. She felt it was her job to take care of him and that lasted even into their old age. We had...stick to the ribs....meals. We usually ended the meal with some sort of dessert. She loved baking pies and cakes...and they often found their way to our table. Yesterday, I was thinking back to some of the"simple"recipes she made. The first one that came to mind was bread pudding. She was a frugal cook...using everything up. She once said that we could eat for a week... using the food that her sister threw away. She had a container with stale bread that she saved for stuffing, but once in a while she made a bread pudding with it. We favored lemon sauce on our bread pudding...not a hard sauce as some served. It was a favorite of mine and Dad's too. Over the holidays, I bought a nice loaf of raisin bread at Sam's. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I thought that it would be a treat for breakfast. As it turned out...it was a heavy bread and not as nice as I thought it would be. What would I do with the rest of the loaf? Remembering my Mom, I cut it into cubes and put it in a bag in the freezer. I added to this bag pieces of wheat bread and other nice breads from Christmas. I have never made bread pudding. I don't know why...I have had it in restaurants many times. It's just something that I never tried making. I had my Mom's recipe and yesterday decided to give it a try. This recipe took a lot of time...because I made a lemon curd to go on top.Do you see that little bite missing in the top left hand corner :)
Last night, while watching TV, I served my pudding with lemon curd. It was warm and filling. Memories flooded back from my childhood. I didn't realize what work had gone into this "simple" pudding. The preparation of the bread, the scalding of the milk, tempering the eggs, putting the pudding in a water bath....it all took time. Then on top of that making the lemon curd. Mom had made this look so simple. She cooked all her meals from scratch...no boxed or frozen food in those days. We had meals with a meat, potato or noodles, vegetable, bread, and a dessert. Many times we had casseroles and hashes using up all the leftovers. She was a magician in the kitchen.
I never gave her meals a thought in those days, but when I married and tried to do what she did...I did a miserable job at first. Hamburgers and chicken were as creative as I got. After reading countless cookbooks, using Mom's recipe box and my Grandma's, watching countless hours of the food channel, I'm a pretty good cook. My favorite thing to do is create meals and not use a recipe. My specialty is soup. I love to put things together and make a delicious soup out of almost nothing.
We have over a half a pan of bread pudding left. I think we'll have some today and then I'll see if I can freeze a couple of portions for later. I'm looking out the window at the smoke coming out of the neighbor's chimneys. The ground is blanketed with snow. Another cold day. I better get going to make, a stick to our ribs , meal. Neither of us needs that kind of meal today, but it's a comforting thought.


Barbee' said...

During the two years we lived on an army base, I was given stale doughnuts, rolls, and raisin breads from the mess hall several times. They made good bread pudding. I didn't know about making a topping for them, we had the pudding just plain, but they were good.

Lona said...

That just looks so yummy. Makes me want some. LOL! I love bread pudding but have never made any either. I guess it never comes to mind somehow although when we go out to eat and they have it on a buffet I usually get a spoonful. I also like lemon but have never tasted lemon curd. I bet I would love it too. Great dessert for a cold day. I thought it was a good day for some vegetable soup yesterday when we got the snow. Have a wonderful weekend.

Anonymous said...

Balisha...Hi!!! I am able to leave a comment on your blog with no trouble...Yea!!!
I loved this memory you just shared with us, and I Love, Love, Love bread pudding! Your photos made me want some with a nice hot cup of coffee :)
I also enjoyed hearing how it looked as you gazed out your window...the perfect ending to this post :)

Mark said...

This post made me hungry... :) I also love cooking... I'm sharing this post from my other blog, to probably give you an idea of the cooking "culture" in my part of the Philippines. (http://coolwordweaver.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/from-the-kitchen-world/)

I resonate with memories flooding in when a familiar taste visits our taste buds or even our noses... :) Most of the time, I remember my mother's and my aunt's cooking... :D

Happy new year Balisha!

Marydon said...

Your memories of that time are not that different from mine.

Oh, how yummy this looks! Pass the rum sauce, please!

Have a beautiful day ~

Amber Star said...

I didn't have bread pudding growing up and think I've only had it once when a friend and I shared a dessert.

My mother cooked hearty meals, too. I make soup and stews and we like them a lot. One of my favorites is french onion soup, but it isn't one of my husband's faves. One cold day I'll make some and he will eat it and tell me how much he likes it.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Your memories similar to mine. Only with my grandmother. Mom, so young that in my growing up years she did not cook that much, my father did. You cook now the way I do - look at recipes and then create my own. Especially soups which are good for one person.
It is a challenge to cook healthy smaller portions for one. Post the bread pudding and lemon curd sauce for me or send to me. Sounded so good.
I always keep a frozen bag of bread or sweet left overs in freezer. Wish we lived closer to one another:)

Margie's Musings said...

Oh Wow! That bread pudding looks scrumptous, Balisha!

Jean said...

As a child my Grandmother Evans usually never made deserts but one thing she did make was bread pudding.She called it biscuit pudding because they saved the stale biscuits to make it. She would soak the bread in the milk and egg mixture and then squeeze the bread smooth before she baked it. She used one oven bowl and I have it today. Still does a pretty good job. I have often thought that the cinnamon raisin bread would make a great pudding. Now we know. Its comfort food all the way.

garden girl said...

Looks delicious Balisha. Bet your house smelled wonderful while it was baking.

Balisha said...

Hi Barbee...I never used donuts in mine. I'll bet they were good. I think that most anything can be used. It can be a little soft...so the day old bread keeps it firm and kind of crispy on the edges.

Lona...I saw your vegetable soup the other day. It made me hungry.

Jan...So glad you can comment without problems.These blogs can be so frustrating when things go wrong.

Mark...I read some of your other blog. You have a wonderful way of describing things. I really enjoy reading about other cultures and their customs.
Marydon...now rum sauce sounds delicious. I love rum raisin ice cream...maybe a scoop of that too.

Amber Star...French onion soup is a favorite of mine. Topped with crusty French bread and melted cheese...Oh, I can just taste it.

Ernestine...I have noticed that we both cook very similarly. Your soups always make my mouth water. I wish you were my neighbor too..

Margie...It really was delicious. You seem to be the queen of cakes. You make so many. Thankyou for the recipe that you sent.

Hi Jean...We seem to remember even the bowls and utensils that our Moms and Grandmas used to use. You are fortunate to have one of her bowls.

Linda...The house always smells nice when you bake something with cinnamon. That fragrance is so comforting.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Bread pudding! It brings back memories, but sad ones. All my life I have loved Bread Pudding..and when my oldest son and his wife opened their bakery, their bread pudding was what I always ordered.
When Patrick died..they brought me bread pudding because it was the only thing I could seem to get down. That and rice pudding. When I wouldn't come to the door sometimes, they would sit it on the hood of my car or by the front door.
I still love it..but since it is made daily at the bakery I just get it there. Still...I may try it. I am going to copy the recipe and see how it turns out. I am NOT a great cook..but after reading your comment MAYBE I can pull this one off. I said MAYBE!1 :)
I am so sorry I have not been by for awhile. I seem to be having trouble keeping up lately. Lazy?
Many hugs to you my friend.

Balisha said...

Hi Mona,
Isn't it amazing how we can remember different times in our lives by certain dishes from the kitchen. A Grandma's cookie, a Mom's pot roast, comfort food when we are sad or sick. I think that's why we can feel so comforted by food. The first thing people women think about, when there is a death,is what can I make to take over? Thanks for your visit. I visit you everyday, but many times I don't leave a comment.