Monday, April 2, 2012

Pudding for a Day, King for a Lifetime (a word on friendship)

Set to the tune of Primus' "Pudding Time"

As the calendar slowly and methodically creeps towards a day that will mark the 32nd year of my presence on this planet, I ponder the vast intricacies of life.  I search for conclusion....I test my meddle against unfounded fears and to the heights of gorgeousness and gorgeosity.  I've come to a conclusion...and there's no possible way to deny it at this point, so why put up the pretense?  The conclusion is this:

A lot of my friends are kinda douchebags.

I know what you're thinking. Wait, YOU'RE calling someone a douchebag?  Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?

Yeah, I know, right?  but here's the thing: we can spot our own...also, you're a racist (it's like the pot calling the kettle African American).  But that's why I like em, I 'spose.  Anyway, when my foul-mouthed, abrasive, and especially douchey semi-acquaintance Clint sent the public request to contribute to his pudding review blog (coincidentally called, well....I knew I had to lend a hand.  If for no other reason than I would get a chance to call him a douchebag publicly and, more than likely, he'd probably publish it.

Now, I've never really been a pudding connoisseur, so I was gonna have to take a crash course.  To the supermarket!!

Mercy Christmas! There were a lot of fuckin' puddings there.  Spanning the flavor rainbow like a promiscuous Skittle.  Apple Custard Pie, Pumpkin Spice, Flan, Creme Brulee, Dulce De Leche, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Double Chocolate, Double Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Swirl, Cinnamon Roll, Ice Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake, and even one that changed colors as you made it!


This man does not love you
But there was a problem.  As I pulled one box of Gell-Oh (fuck em, if they ain't paying me, I ain't saying their name) after another, I noticed that there were a lot of ingredients listed that weren't real food.  Do YOU have any idea what Adipic Acid is?  What about Xylitol, Acesulfame Potassium, Disodium Phosphate, Fumaric Acid, Phenylan, or Maltodextrine? Not to mention Red #40, Blues #1 & 2, and Yellows #5 & 6.  And just to make sure there's no question about it, something called "Artificial Flavors."  

I've been looking after my health a little bit lately in an effort to shed some unwanted poundage, and one of the rules I made for myself was that I wouldn't put anything but actual food in my mouth....and unpronounceable pudding chemicals didn't really qualify.  I suppose I could have gone with an organic pudding mix from Whole Foods, but who needs to spend $30 bucks on pudding and have to deal with the hipsters with neck tattoos and an affinity for the Indigo Girls?

No.  I was gonna have to make my own pudding.  Here's the problem, though....I'd never done it before.  Custard, sure, pudding no.  So, time to hit the books.  No, this isn't necessary, but I wanted a good sample group of various puddings.  Turns out, in the average pudding....there's only about 5 ingredients, all recognizable.  The most direct and (seeming to me) versatile recipe came from my good ol dogeared and stained copy of "The Joy Of Cooking."  It read thusly:

Vanilla Pudding
makes 4 servings

1/4 C sugar
3 Tbl Cornstarch
1/8 Tsp salt
1/4 C Milk, reserved
1 3/4 C Milk
1 Large Egg, beaten in separate bowl
1/2 Tsp Vanilla

1. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy sauce pan (not over heat).  Whisk in 1/4 Cup milk, making a smooth, runny paste.  Then add the rest of the milk.

2. Place pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture just comes to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir 1/2 Cup of the milk mixture slowly into the bowl with the beaten egg.  Stir this mixture back into the pan and bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour the pudding into your serving bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.  To keep a skin from forming, take a piece of plastic wrap, cover, and press it into the pudding before refrigerating.
THE REVIEW: it's not as easy as going to the store and buying colored chemical goop in a non-biodegradable coffin.  But here's the thing, you can actually make MORE of the above and put them in little cups.  Reusable ones....hell, bowls full of the stuff can easily be made.  Then you get all of the joy of opening up pudding (let's face it, it's like a mini-Christmas) but you actually KNOW what's in it and can pronounce most of the ingredients properly on the first try.

So how did it taste? vanilla pudding.  Like damn fine vanilla pudding.  The vanilla is the star here, so I would def go with as high quality vanilla as you can find.  This may be the time to pull out the fancy stuff you bought for big bucks and were "saving for a special occasion." I added an extra element also:  Meringue.  And then I torched it to give it a nice toasted marshmallow overtone to the whole thing.  After all this is, or, or even  No, no....this is PUDDINGREVIEWS.COM and as such, the dish demanded class!  Meringue it was.  Also I discovered that you can sprinkle some sugar on top of the thing and torch it to make a very no fuss Creme Brulee.  Classy as shit, right here.

So give it a go.  Make big ol' batch of pudding and share it with your douchebag friends.