labor of love

Tonight I got a hankerin' for some good 'ole fashioned comfort food... not just any old comfort food... my Grandma's famous rice pudding! The problem is, Grandma lives 6,000 miles away in Alaska, and the last time I tried making her recipe, it was an utter failure!

Several years ago, upon my request, Grandma had given me the recipe, and had written the directions very carefully and detailed... because apparently there's a special science in making a good rice pudding. Hers is so creamy and delicious, it tastes like Christmas in a bowl!.... it's THAT good!

But in trying to replicate her recipe, I thought if I hurried the process and let it boil, and skip the step about pouring a little hot mixture into the beaten eggs first, and then adding it to the rest of the milk mixture... that i would get the same result. Oh contrare! It tasted alright, I guess.... that is, if you like scrambled eggs in every bite.

That image haunted me for years, so I was very reluctant to try making it again. Until tonight. So since Mike was out for the night, and the kids were in bed, I rummaged through my pantry for some evaporated milk and set to work. I turned the stove on... very low... and slowly and patiently stirred the milk. I stirred, and I stirred and I stirred. I followed the recipe meticulously. I was tempted once or twice to crank up the heat and speed things along, but I resisted. (in case you're wondering, the goal is to cook it, without letting it boil). I was also tempted to walk away and load the dishwasher... but I refrained.

As I was standing there, I started thinking about all the times Grandma made rice pudding just for me. When they were living in DC, she often made it when she knew we were coming over, and when she came to visit me, she brought me a big tupperware bowl just for me! Of course I appreciated it then... but I didn't understand all the labor and love cooked up in a big pot of rice pudding. I imagined her standing in her kitchen late at night, stirring and stirring and stirring and stirring... even though she probably had a hundred other things she could've been doing besides standing at the stove. I get it now. And I'm grateful she did it.

And now I'm passing that labor of love onto my family, because for the first time ever, I have created some yummy, creamy rice pudding... and I think it turned out beautifully! (Not a speck of scrambled eggs to be seen!) The question still remains... will they even like rice pudding? I'm not sure yet. Either way, I feel like a better mom for making it!


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