Friday, March 11, 2011

Day Seventy: The Rice is in the Pudding

Rice pudding is one of those things that makes me wonder, How the heck did this get invented? Of necessity, I suppose. Someone had leftover rice and leftover milk. They thought, what if I boiled these together? And thus, the least appetizing dessert in the world was born.

I would suspect the English.

But then I looked it up online, and it turns out rice pudding can be found in the cuisines of almost every region in the world. In Denmark, it's ris a la mande. In Spain, it's arroz con leche. In Egypt, it's ruz bil-laban.

But I am right, in a sense, about the English. It's a very popular dish in the UK, dating back to the Tudor period (about 1615), and early recipes for it were called "whitepot." Apt, don't you think? Because unless you season it heavily or use brown rice, that's just what it is. A pot full of white.

Don't get me wrong. As we both know, white food tastes good. But still. Those stuffy English. (I'm about 50% English, so I'm allowed to say that. Though I do love many elements of their cuisine and they make some good beer. I just finished reading Wuthering Heights, though, in which the characters eat little other than porridge and boiled milk.)

Anyway. Back to rice pudding. I had a very basic version this evening, and at first the texture was repulsive to me, but like anything, you get used to it. The flavor was just bland. Sweetish, but bland. I would like to experiment with this dish, I think. Vanilla bean and lavender might make it a little fancier. I know it's often flavored with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and the like.

We'll see.

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