Posted by: A Part of the Solution | February 24, 2010

A Grain of Comfort

My tummy’s been upset for the last day. It’s crampy and plaintive and prone to collecting gas. It’s not pretty being me today. And it was hard to think of anything I wanted to eat that wouldn’t give me trouble as soon as I swallowed.

MAP (my anonymous partner) made me a small omlette at breakfast. It certainly seemed like the right thing at the time. I don’t ordinarily have any trouble digesting an egg, mushrooms, a little bell pepper and a touch of fontina. It didn’t do unto me like the split pea soup I had yesterday (and you really don’t want any more information on that topic than I’ve just shared). But it wasn’t as smooth a relationship as I could have wished.

So I headed for high ground. Everybody has a few foods they fall back on where comfort food meets invalid eats. I can always tell when I’m going to wake up with the flu. The last thing I do is make a big pot of Thai green coconut curry–as though under a compulsion–and then I take to my bed. I suspect all those shallots, garlic and mushrooms build up my immune system for the struggle to come. And I never resist the urge when it comes upon me. I’m not sure I could.

But when the tummy’s under attack, I head down a different path to put my nurturing to my malaise. I’m one of those people who doesn’t much care for eggs (when people ask me how I like my eggs, I always say, “In other foods!”). And what a pity, because I have great custard-making in my genes. My mother would whip a custard out for her sick kids, and it was always just the thing–unless you’re like me and just can’t tolerate the slippery quality of certain foods: Jello, raw herring, egg whites, eyeballs &tc.

But I’m lucky. Mom also makes the good rice pudding. And that’s the food I turned to in my hours of want today. It’s simple. It’s tasty. It’s reasonably nutritious. And it doesn’t make me feel any worse. What more could you ask of a bowl of rice pudding?

Genetic Rice Pudding

1/4 cup white rice, long grain if it’s on hand

1/4 cup raisins, or other dried fruit

1/3-1/2 cup sugar (I use vanilla sugar, but it could be raw or lemon or plain)

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest, or orange

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, or cinnamon if you prefer

1 pinch of salt

3 cups of milk (cow, goat, almond, rice, oat or soy–they’re all some kind of good)

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease a one and a half quart (or two quart, if that’s what you have) casserole. Put everything in the casserole and stir it together. Set it in the oven. In 30 minutes, stir it once or twice. And again in another thirty minutes. And again in another thirty minutes. Check it after thirty more minutes. The rice should be very fluffy and soft. The liquid should be slightly thickened. It will thicken a lot as it cools–so don’t over-cook it, unless you like to eat yours with a fork.

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