Sunday, August 23, 2009

What are you eating Dorothy?


I would like to talk to you seriously about a subject I take very personally…

BREAD PUDDING

One of the most homey, plain, comfort foods on earth I can’t fathom that some people actually don’t like it.

I am not fond of it cold…I prefer warm.

Actually between warm and hot and with a sauce…not too sweet…it must have the proper combination of custardy, caramelized, vanilla, soft and crispy tastes and textures.

If a little good old fashioned booze sneaks in there that’s fine…a LITTLE. Not too much!

My Mother made a great Bread Pudding - that's saying a lot she was a tragic excuse for a cook however she knew how to make a perfectly yummy bread pudding - I wish I had paid closer attention, the recipe died with her.

You grew up with your bread pudding and I grew up with mine-we then ventured out and found that the world was full of bread pudding of all kinds-some with odd and interesting additives, some plain and some exotic and some not even identifiable as bread pudding.

I write, on occasion, restaurant reviews for my local paper.

I take on all comers from major chains and name chefs to Mom and Pop but I always review the bread pudding when I have a chance.

Have you ever noticed on cooking shows that famous chefs and food critics seem to all be experts on what makes a good scallop?

I myself have no idea as I am allergic to shellfish-actually to anything that swims or otherwise resides in or around water, salt or fresh.

The smell of seafood causes me to feel as if I might un-swallow at any moment.

All this understood I find it fascinating that those great chefs and food experts ALL know what makes the perfect scallop I must be the only restaurant reviewer in the world that has never eaten one.

Scallops cannot be over or under cooked, they must be impeccably cleaned and fresh-very, very fresh!

The pundits will wax on and on about the texture and sweetness and if there is a sauce, the flavours and how they meld-it is positively astonishing how in depth (no pun) they can become about a simple scallop.

I understand; I feel exactly the same about Bread Pudding.

There are requisites-texture, flavours and so on, I KNOW a good bread pudding from an incredible bread pudding and don’t try to pass of any plastic container, made in a factory goo under a sauce from a can-have you ever seen Gordon Ramsey go postal? I’m worse…

Gordon Ramsey is one of those experts on Scallops.

Give him a bad scallop and he will tear you apart with his bare hands, he is passionate, passionate and vociferously profane about all things Scallop, and don’t you forget it big boy.

It has become something of a joke in my neighborhood that if there is no bread pudding in my review I was probably in a Chinese restaurant and it wouldn’t have mattered because I wouldn’t have liked the bread pudding anyway…

If there is ever a national bread pudding contest I should be the head judge.

It is one thing I am absolutely confident of, I KNOW MY BREAD PUDDING!!!

I also make a quite passable bread pudding - several variations as a matter of fact – my pumpkin bread pudding with Jack Daniels hard sauce is a Halloween favorite…I DO as well as PREACH.

I’m sure you knew this was coming but here goes anyway: ART is a little bit like BREAD PUDDING.

You grow up with a sense of art, you move on and as you mature you expand your horizons and learn that there is more to art than say a sappy landscape, dogs playing poker or Pinkie and Blueboy.

You learn new recipes, you find things passing as art that don’t even resemble art and you come to be an expert on what it takes for you to consider something good and what makes something else great -textures, flavours, subtleties.

Actually art is a LOT like Bread Pudding with the exception that I like more kinds of art and a wider variety, I will allow more diversity, and I am less conservative when it comes to art.

I am also not as absolutely confident when it comes to my taste in art.

I appreciate a Lawrence or an Alma – Tadema over a Picasso or a Calder.

In the art world that’s a little like preferring Bread pudding to Marons Glace.

But there you have it; I DO prefer Bread Pudding to Candied Chestnuts I think I have made that blindingly clear!

That’s all; I think I’ve made my point.

I feel much better now.

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