"Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not." Author Unknown
Once upon a time, a friend confided in me that in her younger years she had made a big bowl of chocolate pudding with the intention of getting crazy in bed with the luscious dessert and her husband. Henceforth, I have not been able to remove the image I conjured in my mind of the intertwined couple, messily covered in smears of chocolate, doing whatever people do, when they decide to do that kind of thing. No judgment here, but I would certainly prefer to consume my serving of pudding with a dish and spoon—thank you very much. Just as I cannot unsee this image in my mind, now you can't unread it. It's the gift that keeps giving. I found out later, my friend who shall remain unnamed (and is assuredly not me), was determinedly trying to fortify her rocky marriage by being The Total Woman protégé, but alas, this marriage could not be saved. Maybe she should have tried Saran wrap and The Total Woman Creamy Rice Pudding.
Thankfully, my pudding memories don't begin and end with my friend's sexcapades. When I look back upon my childhood to consider my favorite desserts, two immediately jump to mind—silky smooth pudding and our family's Lemon Ice Cream. While Lemon Ice Cream was always made from scratch and churned in an electric mixer with rock salt and ice, the puddings were made from boxes and patiently stirred in an enameled iron pot over medium heat on the stove top until thick and bubbly. I can't recall making just vanilla or chocolate. We always made both flavors and served the two together. So, in my mind, you can't have one without the other. Chocolate and vanilla are "besties". Where you find one, you can often find the other.
Lately, I've been working on making my life less complicated. It's a noble goal that sounds as if it should be easy, but in reality it is not. It takes concerted effort to stay focused and stay on task because life seemingly wants to pull me in a hundred different directions. My sister has a saying that she repeats often: "Juliette plans and the universe laughs." I can relate.
One of my pet projects in recent months is to make meals ahead of time. To me it seems like a gargantuan undertaking because it takes more advance preparation than just flying by the seat of my pants, and it is a lot more difficult than just succumbing to going out for a fast-casual restaurant meal. Sometimes I'm planning ahead in support of a busy work week, when I'm calling on accounts across a large swath of Arizona territory and spending hours upon hours behind the windshield of my car. At other times, I am simplifying entertaining which affords me more time to relax with my family and friends. I was able to accomplish my "simple" entertaining goal for Mother's day, when I made Chicken Cacciatore for the main course and chocolate and vanilla puddings for dessert. The core of the meal was prepared on a Saturday and all that was left for me to do on Sunday was to reheat the sauce, boil the pasta, assemble a salad and make whipped cream, which was easy to do with my sister, two nieces and my daughter with me in the kitchen. We had a wonderful time. And so can you.
|Hot pudding is transferred from the saucepan to a bowl to cool.
We just have one tip to add, our sister Maria thought it would be a-okay to use sour milk in pudding (the milk in our fridge had gone bad). In fact she stubbornly insisted that the pudding would be delicious in spite of our many protestations. The final pudding was, as you might expect, disgusting. Maria ate a bowl of it anyway just to prove us wrong.
Vanilla and Chocolate Pudding with Berries and Whipped Cream