Some argue that the making of bread marks the beginning of man’s civilization. Others say that it reveals the height of social exclusivity using the example of the bread riots of the French Revolution. Without a doubt, today, bread has become a staple of the American household—in all its varieties. My experience with making bread pudding using six slices of day old bread, however, has convinced me that bread can and does lift the spirit of the eaters!
Moving from CA and establishing my new living space here in Abingdon, VA this past 6 months, I’m discovering a lot about myself. One discovery is in the area of self-preservation where I am learning to take a larger needful stride in the area of nutrition. My attempt at making bread pudding was a very large step for me in more ways than I expected!
Over the last 4 years, I’ve learned that muscular dystrophy (FSH) affects every aspect of life– especially when preparing meals. FSH weakens muscle groups of the upper torso. As a result, cooking, in particular, remains a challenge in many ways: physically, emotionally, and temperamentally! Did I say temper? Yes, I’ve come to understand that cooking with FSH can sometimes evoke emotions normally best kept sealed under a tight lid. Despite visions of spilled milk or emotional setbacks, I was determined, however, to learn work around methods in my new kitchen space.
Positive prior kitchen experiences steadied me as I worked through the challenge. Like other baked items, bread pudding took preparation. First, I reviewed the recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com for bread pudding. Second, I selected a traditional recipe, as this was my very first time in baking bread in this manner. Also, I wanted to experience history and savor its richness. Third, I laid out all ingredients and collected the necessary cookware. Fourth, I followed the directions as stated in the recipe except for (a) leaving the pudding in the oven for a total of 65 minutes instead of their suggested ¾ hour and (b) using an egg substitute.
Despite being my first attempt, I have to admit that I was impressed with the aroma and site of my bread pudding. I called my next door neighbors Mandy and Miss Thelma to find out if they had any interest as taste-testers. Mandy was elated. Miss Thelma said “Of course, I’ve been searching for something sweet all day!” She put down her recently opened chocolate bar and said she’d wait until I got there. However, before rushing the pudding out of the oven and over to their kitchens, I inserted a knife to check for doneness. The knife came out respectfully clean but the amount of excessive moisture migrating toward the middle of the pan gave me a feeling of nervous disaster. I doubled checked several recipes and they all called for a “moist” appearance.
After four test samplings, I decided to chance it all! It felt good transferring the hot bread pudding into small bowls. The cinnamon and vanilla smells filled my senses. But something else came out of the oven in addition to the pudding–something for which I hadn’t planned. After delivering the hot bowls of bread pudding to the smiling faces of Mandy and Miss Thelma, I found that a life larger than I had imagined for myself in Abingdon, VA had begun to unfold itself. As I opened the door to my apartment, I felt the largeness had been waiting for me all this time–waiting for me to embrace it. I did and it felt very warm indeed! Conclusion? Bread pudding is best enjoyed with family and friends, and now, I add–cherished neighbors!
Living life in 2011,
AllRecipes Bread Pudding II
6 slices day-old bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.