French Fridays with Dorie
Just the thought of Rice pudding with caramelized apples makes me sick.
Actually the truth is more that when I got sick I would eat rice pudding. Its an association I have a hard time pushing back. Rice pudding was something my mom would make whenever I would get ill and stay home from school. She chose it not so much because I liked it or because I deserved a special treat for surviving a night with vomitous fever; but rather because she felt rice pudding was “easy to digest” — her way of saying I should eat something with better odds of not showing itself again later.
I don’t know the nutritional and medical validity of her strategy but I can say with certainty that somewhere between violently throwing up and reluctantly heading back to school there would always be at least one bowl of rice pudding.
A few years later at high school the cafeteria lunch line rice pudding would take on a more unpleasant association for me. This high school rice pudding was not the delicate vanilla scented, home-style nourishing confection my mother had once made to assuage my bilious constitution. This pudding was a dense, sticky, ill-textured, unnatural yellow blob of putty. Its sole redeeming quality was the ability to sit in the cafeteria reach-in for weeks before the school nurse or Child Protective Services would require its removal and destruction.
I don’t recall anybody ever choosing it to eat this pudding, cups with expiration dates far into the future would sit next to the more appealing items offered. Potato chips, pretzels, popsicles, even the “pizza in a bag”. Nobody ever came for the pudding.
Until the day Barry Hendricks had one handy. As I was walking across the school quad one day he spotted me, threw a container of the rice pudding at the back of my head and screamed “faggot” as loud as he could. Splat. Ouch.
Barry and I had not been in a single class together since the 6th grade and since I wasn’t inclined to hang out behind the bleachers smoking pot all day we didn’t really know each other. I had no idea why he would single me out for bullying or pudding. Barry wasn’t what I would call a very smart guy but he did seem to know I was a faggot four full years before I did.
So there is that I suppose.
Nevertheless, rice pudding wasn’t something I had been keen to experience again.
Rice Pudding with Caramel Apples
Gratefully this rice pudding with caramel apples recipe brings to mind none of these unpleasant associations. The pudding is certainly easy enough, makes use of inexpensive ingredients usually has at hand, and even with the apples, took only a few minutes to make. And while it can be a little tricky making caramel at home the most demanding cooking skill involved is stirring with a wooden spoon.
All of which has me wondering just how cafeteria ladies could have fucked it up so badly?
How does the institutionalization of a fine dessert destroy it so thoroughly? Even meatloaf wasn’t that bad. Seriously, if you can’t sell out your rice pudding in three days or less then perhaps you should think about revising your recipe. If students have so little regard for your rice pudding the only thing they find use for it is to hurl it at an unsuspecting student then perhaps it should be eliminated from the menu altogether.
High school is no place for bullies or bad rice pudding. Just the thought of them makes me sick.
This Rice Pudding with Caramelized Apples recipe was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers who adore her as much as I do, I will either include it here (only when adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You really should buy the book though.
It will change your life as it has mine.