Greetings and Salutations;
Proust, in his famous tome “Remembrance Of Things Past”, spent something like a dozen pages describing the joys of having some Madeline cookies and Tea in the afternoon. Now, to a certain extent, I can understand his enthusiasm, as I have made Madelines myself, and, the delicate, lemon flavor of those foamy treats is a great taste treat. I would make them more often, but, they are labor intensive, and, I have not had the time or energy to spend on them for far too long. I will mention in passing, though, that once when I took a couple of large platters of them to a dinner party of a circle of friends, I took about six of them back home with me, and, the only reason I took that many was because I was kind of a hard-ass about it.
However, while that is a pleasant memory, that is not the one I wanted to mention here. No, my topic is really supposed to be Jello chocolate pudding . I prefer the cooked version over the “cold milk” version, as I think it creates a slightly better flavor and texture. But, that is personal prejudice…. It had been a while since I had cooked any up, and, yesterday, while I was casting about in the afternoon, to see what I could put together to eat, I noted that I had quite a few boxes of the pudding mix in the pantry. It had been on sale last year, and, so since at the time, I had a buck or two to spare, I stocked up. I moved on to cut down on the number of mix boxes, and increase the amount of ready to eat pudding in the refrigerator, ended up with a nice bowl of it cooling on the counter in fairly short order. One little bit of cooking technology I discovered a bit ago was that it works amazingly well to microwave puddings and custards. It is amazingly efficient (cutting several hours of cooking in the oven to half an hour or so), and, with the proper sequence of heating and stirring, creates a pudding/custard that is every bit as good as the slower cooked one
Finally, I was able to spoon out a bowl of the rich, dark custard, and take a bite. Like Proust, this taste took me back into my memories to a Young Adults Retreat we had held about 25 years ago. My good friend, Bill M, my sister, Cathy and I were the active force creating the event, and dealing with the logistics of it. At the time, we were all very active in First Lutheran’s programs for youth and young adults, so we stayed quite busy. As a matter of fact just a couple of weeks before, we had run a Youth Retreat. Of course, food is an important part of these events, and, we were casting around to decide on some sort of slightly sweet dessert snack for the Retreat. At the Youth Retreat, we had experienced a run on the chocolate pudding. No one wanted the Vanilla, but, we ran out on the first day of the event (and kind of struggled to deal with the next two days because of it!). Well, the Young Adults group was only a few years older than the youth that had run through the chocolate pudding like locusts through a wheat field, so we thought we would be smart and get plenty of extra pudding so as not to run out.
Of course, as one might guess, the age difference of just a few years made all the difference in the world. Almost NONE of the chocolate pudding got eaten over the weekend, and so we were stuck with gallons of the stuff. It was actually pretty good, though, but, there was just so much of it. We ended up contributing some to a food bank, as I recall, and took a bunch of it for us to have. I made it through the stack of cans I had ended up with, but, I was pretty sick of chocolate pudding by the time the last bowl was gone. It was several years until I would eat a bite of the stuff, and, even today, the mention of a truck load of chocolate pudding remains an inside joke for us.
Bee Man Dave