Rice is (gulp) nice?

June 9, 2009

stephricepuddingThe Empress  and her Three-of-a-Kind column today made me gag, I’m afraid.

I’m sure all of you will love it, but childhood memory makes me distinctly bilious at the mention of rice pudding.

If it weren’t for this (literally) gut-level aversion of mine, Steph’s column would be interesting for the cultural combo of what different folks do with rice pud, but sadly since the age of twelve I have not been able look, smell, hear of the stuff.

(That, and much worse, bread-and-butter pudding. Ugh, even typing that made my reverse-peristalsis-muscles twitch. Nobody in my whole family can go there, thanks to a visiting stand-in mother while our mum was in hospital for some procedure or other, probably either another baby or varicose vein surgery – no wonder she died young! – and this woman must have done something godawful with B&BP; none of us know what the problem was, but we all knew even then it was horrific and have never eaten it since).

Anyhoo for some reason – probably the combination of five whining children, hungry husband, no money and the sedative effect of seven stomachfuls of stodgy carbohydrate – our mum was a big fan of the rice pud. Too big a fan. But I ate every bowl, of course.


Anyhoo, if that hasn’t put you off completely, check out Steph’s column for lots of tasty-looking RPs (errrgh).

And then tell me your own particular childhood nightmare food. I once had a boyfriend who couldn’t look at eggwhite because of some egg concoction a babysitter once forced down his throat. And ask my husband about canned tomato soup done his dad’s special way, and watch the pallor rise…


  1. I did a rice pud on the weekend. The kids love it, but I, like you think it’s gagworthy. B+B pud. I’ve done simple single serve ones using fruit toast and an egg and milk mixture. That was OK. But there were crispy edges and not too much stodge.
    One more – porridge. I do like it now there’s a quick oats version, but the stuff done over the stove – erk.

  2. Anyone who’s been to boarding school freaks out about most of those starchy puds, don’t they.
    I’m ashamed to admit I’d probably try anything once and make a fist of enjoying it.

    However my son mentioned camel the other night and I think I’d have to draw the line there. Surely your camel is the last thing you eat when you are starving.

  3. I love RP *and* B+BP. Rice pudding reminds me of my grandma, who I loved, and who always had treats coming out of the oven. When I close my eyes, I can still taste her RP with its perfect nutmeg layer on top. And B + BP… I had a really, really good one somewhere that just sold me. Comfort food plus.

    The thing I love most about being a grown up is not having to eat anything I don’t like. To this day my gag reflex kicks in when I think of tripe in white sauce, choko-in-I-don’t-care-how-much-butter-it’s-still-choko, and lambs fry (just how poor were we, anyway???!!!)

  4. Urgh B&BP, urgh no. And summer pudding! Big urgh! My English mother-in-law proudly made us summer pudding a year or so ago, and I, in all my ignorance, had no idea what it was, but it sounded, you know, summery, so how bad could it be, right? OMG. I took a big mouthful (being the piggy that I am), expecting berries and some lovely cheescakey type thing, and well, OMG. Gross.

  5. katiecrackernuts, I’m with you on the porridge. Had it every day of my childhood winters, and never objected. But now – ugh.

    Genevieve, I saw a CAMEL recipe in my fab Maggie Beer book the other day. Did a double take let me tell you. Camel? CAMEL?? But then again, why not. Cows, camels, pigs, horses, dogs, cats … really we shouldn’t discriminate in my view. But camel sounds tough.

    Doctordi, it’s clear you’re on your own here unless Steph drops in to defend her gloopy friends, the slushy puddings. But really, anything that has the remotest potential to look sloppy AND grey just loses me.

    Simonne, I thought summer pudding WAS summery! I was prepared to love it! Am sure I have loved it. Isn’t it sort of trifleish and berryish?? Strange, how soggy cake can be delicious in a trifle, but soggy bread (UGH) does the gag thing. Ugh.

    • Yes, I’m going to defend my gloopy friends. Not only do I love RP, esp the way my grandmother served it with pouring cream and orange segments, I also love BBP. None of them should be grey. Golden, yes. And with BBP a bit crisp around the edges and, naturally , buttery, with plump sultanas nestling in the custard below. But then I didn’t go to boarding school and my mother and grandmother were both fabulous cooks. The result is there’s nothing from my childhood that makes me gag, and frankly, not much since – unless I can associate it with morning sickness.

      • My sister feels like throwing up every time she hears the words ‘New Zealand’ – went there in early days of pregnancy twenty-one years ago. Still makes her nauseous.

  6. Yes, yes, golden! Crisp edges! Buuuuuuuuuttery! That’s more like it! Thank you, Stephanie, for arriving on your custard stead – my sultana tower was about to fall. Grey? Who’s talking grey? I do not eat grey food. No. Not ever.

    And summer pudding IS summery! I have a great recipe for this somewhere. It makes a glorious dessert… I’ll find it. I’ll show you people (waves a fist).

  7. Okay, this is from the ever-reliable Charmaine Solomon (in the Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, an absolute winner among carnivores and herbivores alike), and it could not be easier or more delicious (Simonne, what did your MIL do??!! I have to know!):

    500g raspberries or mixture of red berries
    125g red currants
    1/2 cup sugar or to taste
    slices of day-old white bread
    cream for serving

    Put the berries into an enamel or stainless steel saucepan with the sugar and cook over low heat for a few mins, until the juices run. No water necessary. Leave to cool.

    Trim crusts off bread, halve the slices and neatly line the pudding bowl. Place a circle of bread in the bottom of the bowl, making sure it is completely lined, so juices can’t escape.

    Fill with the fruit and reserve juice left in pan. Cover the fruit with a layer of bread so it fits snugly inside the rim of the bowl, then a plate with a weight on top (eg. large can).
    Chill pudding overnight. at serving time turn onto a dish, pour reserved juices over and pass jug of cream separately.

    Yum, yum. I have also seen this done with crepes instead of bread… but actually, flash as it was, I prefer the original.

    • God. I have to make this now, don’t I? I don’t know what my MIL did, but it wasn’t good. Everyone else ate it though, so maybe it’s just me. Bread in a dessert is just a big big turn-off for me I’m afraid! But I might get my foodie husband to whip up this recipe seeing you’ve so kindly posted it! I guess I SHOULD give it one more go before I turn my back on it completely…

  8. Well’ I’m thinking something must be wrong with me because I adore rice pudding with cinnamon and nutmeg on top AND I love lumpy porridge made mostly with milk and stone ground oats. I used to make it for myself as a kid after school refraining for a while after I discovered those webby things in the oats were made by weevil larvae ugh!

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  10. I buy rice puddings made by a Greek cake shop in Marrickville Road, with plenty of cinnamon on top, wonderfully creamy inside. I never really ate them as a child, and so I discovered them only relatively recently, in the last 15 years. I’m voting yummy.
    My childhood trauma foods consisted of two things. Mum’s tasteless vegetable (or should I say, barley) soups, and mum’s lumpen porridge. I’m fully rehabilitated on vegetable soups, have been for years – love them. But as for porridge. Not a chance. Not ever. No thanks. Ugh.

    • Mmmm, I love those Greek rice puddings too, Jamie. And try one at The Sultan’s Table in Enmore. Also very creamy and cinnamon-y. Wish the column was ’10 of a kind’ – I could have gone on and ON.

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