Myth Happens - A mameligele, a pastramele

Sovay
Date: 2014-03-08 22:31
Subject: A mameligele, a pastramele
Security: Public
Music:The Focus Group, "The Green Station Haunt"
I wanted to make Indian pudding this weekend. I had cornmeal and spices; I needed molasses and milk. Some shopping errands took care of this discrepancy, as well as things like wanting to visit Porter Square Books in advance of my mother's birthday tomorrow. (Also getting chased out of J.P. Licks because the fire alarm went off and fire trucks showed up, which was considerably less satisfying.) Not having a family recipe to work from, I ended up combining two off the internet—one was straightforward with too little cornmeal, the other too busy with everything else—and it turns out that corn pudding is not at all difficult to make. The results were delicious and ample. Someday I will learn how to make dessert for two people rather than a party.

Nothing Traumatic Happened This Time, I Just Felt Like Making Corn Pudding in My Toaster Oven Corn Pudding

Preparation:

Thickly butter a 9-by-9 glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 325°F. If your oven is a toaster oven, ignore this second step until right before the pudding goes in; seriously, it takes five minutes.

Pudding:

5 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 cup molasses, see note
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger, see note
dash of ground clove
dash of vanilla extract

Whisk together all ingredients except vanilla in heavy large saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until mixture thickens, which it will do abruptly and somewhat unnervingly between the 8- and 10-minute marks. One moment you're stirring a pot of hot milk with a floating skim of spices on top and a swirling sediment of cornmeal at the bottom, the next, bam, you've got porridge. Continue to stir until it has achieved a heavy cereal consistency, about 15 minutes total; the pudding should be pourable at the end of this process, but require a spatula to get the last out. Think oatmeal or grits. If we're still talking gruel, keep it on the fire until we're not. The color will be an attractive light spice-flecked brown. Turn off heat, stir in vanilla, turn out into baking dish.

If you want to eat the pudding at this stage, that's perfectly acceptable; what you have created is a hasty pudding, so called because it took about 15 minutes. Fair warning, though: it becomes substantially more entertaining if you bake it.

Baking:

90 minutes at 325°F. I set the timer in half-hour installments, checking each time to make sure it wasn't going to overcook because I am paranoid about that sort of thing, especially when a lot of sugar or milk is involved. The pudding is done when the center no longer quivers if the baking dish is shaken. It doesn't have to be sliceable, like mămăligă, just cohesive. Long before then, the other person in the kitchen with you may or may not peer in through the glass and remark, "It's breathing!" because while the body of the mixture is still quite liquid, the surface has formed a milky, caramelized skin as if on a custard, which is now inflating and deflating gently as air pockets rise and break from the boiling cornmeal. It will continue to do this for the entire hour and a half. You may be reminded of lungs or at least a practical effect imitating them. I have no idea if this is usual for Indian pudding, but it was hypnotically fun to watch. By the time the pudding was done, the skin had turned the color of candy-crack caramel and was thick and tensile enough that a spoon dug into it more than it cut. It was sweet, chewy, and delicious, clearly the next evolutionary step on from the skin that forms on the top of boiling milk. The pudding underneath is also very tasty, however, so I recommend removing the dish from the oven, letting it stand on a trivet just long enough to avoid scalding, and then serving yourself as much as feels like a good idea. If you happen to have ice cream in the house, or if you've made a point of going back to J.P. Licks several hours after the fire alarm incident in order to purchase some ordinary vanilla ice cream for your husband and some coconut-milk vanilla ice cream for yourself, a scoop on top is a great idea.

Note:

Once I equalized the proportions between the two, the recipes from which I was working wanted about half a cup of molasses to the two-thirds of cornmeal. Rob and I tasted the pudding shortly after the initial porridge stage and determined it did not have nearly enough sweetness or flavor and added about another quarter-cup by judicious scraping-out of the Pyrex measure and the occasional spoon-dip back into the jar. On tasting the finished pudding, we thought it might have needed still more (and perhaps a little dark brown sugar to stabilize). Ditto ginger, which we did not have in the house at all, but which it clearly wanted. What I am recording here, therefore, is a combination of the recipe used tonight and the recipe as we believe it could be improved. If you want to replicate tonight's pudding, use 3/4 cup of molasses and delete the ginger. Everyone's different! You might prefer it!

Either way, enjoy. Oh, also, now you have enough corn pudding for a week or four guests, whichever shows up first.

P.S. I did not buy Vladislav Khodasevich's Selected Poems (trans. Peter Daniels) at Porter Square this afternoon, but as soon as I'd read this poem it was a close thing.
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obzor_inolit
User: obzor_inolit
Date: 2014-03-09 06:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Khodasevich was a very important poet (maybe he was a bit overshadowed by other poets whose fate was more tragic and\or spectactular but a big talent in his own right)...
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Sovay: I Claudius
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-09 06:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconI Claudius
Khodasevich was a very important poet (maybe he was a bit overshadowed by other poets whose fate was more tragic and\or spectactular but a big talent in his own right)...

I'm not rejecting him as a poet—I'm just very broke right now!

Edited at 2014-03-09 06:31 am (UTC)
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obzor_inolit
User: obzor_inolit
Date: 2014-03-09 10:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sorry, I had no means to know that... By the way, I remember vividly how I fretted about buying or not buying books by Khodasevich and his circle of poets when I was a student (and chronically broke).

I'm sure you'll get some money by some miracle (the more the better) and buy it :^)))) Anyway, if you write something about Khodasevich, chances are the transaltor will feel rewarded anyway...
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Sovay: Lord Peter Wimsey
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-09 16:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLord Peter Wimsey
Sorry, I had no means to know that... By the way, I remember vividly how I fretted about buying or not buying books by Khodasevich and his circle of poets when I was a student (and chronically broke).

It's all right; I should perhaps have been clearer that I was speaking wistfully, not dismissively. I was buying a book for my mother, but I couldn't afford to add a hardcover for myself.

Anyway, if you write something about Khodasevich, chances are the transaltor will feel rewarded anyway...

Fair point. And libraries are good for that.
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gwynnega
User: gwynnega
Date: 2014-03-09 08:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The pudding sounds delicious! I must try this recipe.
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Sovay: Lord Peter Wimsey: passion
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-09 16:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLord Peter Wimsey: passion
The pudding sounds delicious! I must try this recipe.

I recommend it! It reheats well, too.
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Josh
User: schreibergasse
Date: 2014-03-09 12:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nothing Traumatic Happened This Time, I Just Felt Like Making Corn Pudding in My Toaster Oven Corn Pudding

:)

PS: You should start a tag for recipes! Or toasters!
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Sovay: Morell: quizzical
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-09 16:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconMorell: quizzical
PS: You should start a tag for recipes! Or toasters!

I've never really used tags! I just link things internally or find them by searching. I feel like I might get overwhelmed if I started now—I'd find myself in the middle of entries from 2006, trying to decide how to categorize classwork versus movies with people I don't hear from anymore.
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asakiyume: flower tea
User: asakiyume
Date: 2014-03-09 14:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconflower tea
I had to get up at 4:30 am this morning (which, as you know Bob, this morning felt extremely like 3:30 am), and at 5:00 am I read this entry and committed to making this RIGHT THEN, so that the ninja girl, whom I'd gotten up to take to work at 5:30, could at least have the hasty pudding stage. Which she did. And then when I got home from taking her to work, I baked the rest.

And it was delicious.

Thank you!

The poem is lovely.
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Sovay: Lord Peter Wimsey: passion
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-09 15:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLord Peter Wimsey: passion
and at 5:00 am I read this entry and committed to making this RIGHT THEN, so that the ninja girl, whom I'd gotten up to take to work at 5:30, could at least have the hasty pudding stage. Which she did. And then when I got home from taking her to work, I baked the rest.

Oh, cool. I'm so glad it fed you!

The poem is lovely.

I had never heard of the poet before; that piece arrested me. I think I am stuck waiting until his Selected Poems is out in paperback, though. Or libraries.
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Beowabbit: Misc: spines of old books
User: beowabbit
Date: 2014-03-09 15:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconMisc: spines of old books
Thank you for the recipe, and thank you for the link to the poem. I’d never heard of Khodasevich.
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Sovay: I Claudius
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-09 16:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconI Claudius
Thank you for the recipe, and thank you for the link to the poem. I’d never heard of Khodasevich.

You're welcome. I hadn't, either; I couldn't imagine how, except that he doesn't appear to have been readily accessible in English. I should just learn Russian already.
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Beowabbit: Lang: Rosetta stone
User: beowabbit
Date: 2014-03-09 16:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLang: Rosetta stone
Then you’d get the meter and rhyme as well as the semantics.
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Owlet
User: snowy_owlet
Date: 2014-03-10 12:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not to mention getting to grouse, "hope those jerkfaces with their easily rhyming case structure and regular stress placement appreciate how easy they have it, razza-frazzin English grr ..."
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Beowabbit: Lang: Old English (Widsith)
User: beowabbit
Date: 2014-03-10 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLang: Old English (Widsith)
*Blink.* Regular stress placement? I guess if that means that when a given Russian word in a given inflectional form and given grammatical function can be stressed in two ways, most of the time you can assume the variation is free and you’re not going to get in terrible trouble picking one or the other one in every given circumstance, it could be true. But Russian has lots and lots of analogues of the English presént/présent distinction. Maybe you were thinking of Polish?

I’ll definitely give you easily rhyming case structure, though (at least for words that happen to be stressed on the case ending in the form you’re using).

Edited at 2014-03-10 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Owlet
User: snowy_owlet
Date: 2014-03-10 14:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Huh. The music of Russian is very metrical in my head, but it has been many years since I could speak it above anything but the "slightly dumb toddler who knows colors" level, so I will bow to your judgment. *grin*
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ap_aelfwine
User: ap_aelfwine
Date: 2014-03-09 18:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm glad the pudding went well, and that the ice cream place was able to re-open in a few hours.

Happy birthday to your mother!
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Sovay: Lord Peter Wimsey: passion
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-10 16:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLord Peter Wimsey: passion
Happy birthday to your mother!

I think it was.
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Owlet
User: snowy_owlet
Date: 2014-03-10 12:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh goodness, I do love Indian pudding with a nice blob of soft whipped cream melting over the top.
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Sovay: Lord Peter Wimsey: passion
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-10 16:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLord Peter Wimsey: passion
Oh goodness, I do love Indian pudding with a nice blob of soft whipped cream melting over the top.

Feel free to alter, adapt, and outright steal! Enjoy!
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Jules (writing when she gets work): happiness is chocolate
User: seajules
Date: 2014-03-15 11:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconhappiness is chocolate
This recipe looks very tasty indeed. And that poem is devastating in the best way. Wow.
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Sovay: Lord Peter Wimsey: passion
User: sovay
Date: 2014-03-15 21:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconLord Peter Wimsey: passion
This recipe looks very tasty indeed.

It reheats well, too. I was very happy with it.

And that poem is devastating in the best way. Wow.

I came home and looked for it; I was very glad it was online to share.
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