Comfort

matching tractors

“Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”  So said Robert Frost.  A grandparent’s home, that’s where you go when you don’t want to go home.  A grandparent’s home is where they roll out the red carpet.  If you’re really lucky, your grandparents live next door to your great-grandparents who really know how to roll out the red carpet.   And then you absolutely, positively don’t want to go home. 

planting buckwheat

Last weekend our little guy was hanging out with us and he was in little boy heaven.  While helping PopPop set up the grill, he found a caterpillar chrysalis which he snagged as a pet.  Then he and PopPop rode down to the field in their matching John Deere tractors and planted buckwheat seed together.  He was such a good helper he even earned money.  Whoa.  The next morning, this

Harper's buckwheat after 5 days

four year old got to drive himself over to Nana and Great-grand-grad’s house all by himself.  Of course, Nana had just baked a fresh batch of cookies and he managed to eat eight of them while playing a round of Candyland before heading back to MomMom and PopPop’s house.   There he helped MomMom make Cornstarch Pudding, a total comfort food that her grandmother used to make for her.  After a romp around the house with Aunt JuJu, we took Cornstarch Pudding home to Mommy.

There are two foods that I crave in the summer–Peach Tapioca and Cornstarch Pudding.  My grandmother, Dooda, made them for me when I visited her in the summer.  Although I can–and do–make them anytime, it is summer when I most crave them.  Dooda has been gone for twenty-four years, but reading her hand-written recipes while I make her desserts is like having a visit with her.  I picture her kitchen: the yellow walls, the white metal cabinets and enamel sink, the formica table, cuckoo clock on the wall, the shelf full of Amish figurines .  The kitchen was small, but there was a set of steps in it that connected to the main stairway.  Those steps were the best spot to sit as a a kid and watch her cook.  A breeze through an open window over the smell of freshly chopped celery always reminds me of her.  So does the smell of vinegar.  I would sit on the kitchen steps and watch Dooda make her homemade mayonnaise.  The final product was delicious but while preparing it, the aroma of vinegar took over the whole house.  (FYI, Marzetti’s Cole Slaw Dressing tastes just like it.) 

Harper is most likely going to associate the taste of honey with MomMom and PopPop, but it was still nice to make for him what Dooda used to make for me. 

Dooda’s Cornstarch Pudding

1 qt. milk,divided

2 eggs, separated

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

pinch of salt

vanilla to taste (1 teaspoon)

In double boiler, heat 3 cups of the milk until scalded (steaming hot, but not boiling).

In another bowl, mix 2 egg yolks, beaten.  Then add sugar, cornstarch, salt, 1 cup cold milk.  Mix well and stir into hot milk.  Stir constantly, about 15 minutes, until pudding has thickened.  Add vanilla.

Save egg whites for meringue.  (When pudding has cooled, whip egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar til stiff.  Fold into pudding.)

The cornstarch pudding is actually a nice summer pudding because the addition of beaten egg whites makes it a very light pudding.  It’s also not too sweet.

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