As my mother finishes up her last few housekeeping tasks, she runs to the stove to see if the rice is boiling over, which is a sure sign the kids are coming home for the holidays. Rice pudding is in the works.
Rice pudding has been the little black dress of our family’s table. Just like the role the little black dress plays in a woman’s wardrobe, rice pudding has been the sturdy go-to dish of our house. Whether it was the medicine of choice that soothed our achy bodies as we stayed home sick from school, or the decadent ending to an indulgent meal, my mom always knew when the time was right.
Any time I encountered a spoonful of the creamy pudding, safety and comfort lined my insides. Not only is this dish a family staple, rice pudding introduced me to my favorite spice: cinnamon. To me, rice pudding is naked without it.
The ingredients are very basic, which creates room for experimentation with mix-ins, namely fruit pieces and nuts. Almonds and apricots, or cherries and walnuts— these are ways in which I try to relive memories from home, with my own twist.
The recipe that my mother uses for her rice pudding is from a cookbook given to her by her aunt (my great aunt), who currently lives just across the tomato garden from us.
- 3 cups milk
- ½ cup raw white rice
- ½ tsp salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
- cinnamon to your taste
- serve with raisins on top
In a 1.5 quart greased casserole dish, place the mixture of milk, rice, salt, sugar, and vanilla . Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place uncovered dish in a preheated 300 degree oven for 2 hours.