I ordered bread pudding today. I don’t see it on menus very often, and I don’t always order it when I do, but sometimes I do. I asked the waitress what came on it.
Bourbon butter sauce.
Is the alcohol cooked out?
So I ordered it. It was delicious. The soft pudding texture made more interesting by occasional chewy bits, the crust with a slight crunch, and the mild sweet sauce. It was a satisfying, if heavy, concentration of calories. Bread pudding can be magical for me.
The first time I ate bread pudding was at my friend Alex’s house in elementary school. His father had prepared it and I ate it at the counter in their kitchen, where you could see the Salt Lake valley across the counters, across the living room with the massive medieval looking tapestry on the wall, and out the living room window. Alex’s family made homemade pasta, had a microwave that shook like an old engine, and killed rattlesnakes with shovels when they ventured onto the back porch. I don’t remember much about the bread pudding, other than the fact that I liked it.
I remember buying slices of bread pudding from a street vendor in the outskirts of Ica, Peru, where I lived for 6 months of my 24 month LDS mission. My missionary companion and I ate at Doris’ house for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Missionaries in Peru in the early 2000s gave their food stipends to a family, who would feed us along with their own during every meal. I mentioned to Doris how I enjoyed bread pudding.
For the next week or two Doris saved all the leftover bread in the house. A typical Peruvian breakfast or dinner involves freshly baked bread rolls that are purchased from local bakers every morning. You would split the roll and spread avocado and salt, butter, farmer’s cheese, deli meats, or tamales (on special occasions) over the bread.1 After filling on these sandwiches I would go out for a day of preaching, visiting, and serving as opportunities arose. Doris would gather and uneaten bread and put it in a plastic bag.
The bag filled and filled with stale bread until it was ready. Doris hadn’t made bread pudding before, but she learned how to do it for us. It was delicious. She, like many others, was so kind to us missionaries.
Bread pudding is magical. If you see it on a menu, give it a try.
If you look up Peruvian cuisine you won’t find what I describe. That’s because the most important meal of the day is lunch and that’s where the most effort is expended. Breakfast and dinner are pretty simple in my experience. ↩