It’s that time of year when I dig out some tried and true recipes. Usually, I find them on slips of paper or yellowing index cards marked with blobs of vanilla or smudges of butter around the edges. What’s in a recipe? Plainly, it’s “a set of instructions for making something from various ingredients,” but if it’s a family recipe, it’s so much more. Like most holiday recipes, each of mine has a story and a family member behind it. I make my sister Nancy’s pumpkin bread, or my quilter friend Patty’s fruitcake. And it’s Mom’s chocolate bars that all my siblings make, even a gluten-free variety invented by Sarah, sibling #5.
Here’s a recipe that turned up in this year’s search. It comes from the grandmother of one of my college boyfriends, who sent it to him every year to remind him of his roots. Warmed on a dorm-room hot plate and topped with vanilla ice cream, it made an instant Thanksgiving feast for the homesick. It’s a version of the so-called “hasty” pudding, not steamed for hours in the copper à la Mrs. Cratchit in Dickens, but boiled in milk until it thickened, and it takes its name from the American ingredients the colonists had at hand—corn and molasses.
Ted’s Grandma’s Indian Pudding
2 ¼ C milk
3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
¼ C molasses
1 tbsp butter
¼ C granulated sugar
1/8 C packed light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
Heat 1 ¼ C milk in double boiler over hot water until tiny bubbles appear. Stir in cornmeal, molasses and butter. Continue to cook over hot water until thickened, stirring now and then. Remove from heat. Beat egg; beat in sugars, salt, and spices. Gradually stir the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture. Turn into a well-greased baking dish. Bake at 300 deg. For approximately 40 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 C of cold milk thoroughly. Return to oven and bake 1 hr. longer until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Top with ice cream or whipped cream.
For me, baking and writing, go together. Nothing gets a scene unstuck faster than a heated encounter between butter and brown sugar. So here's one more recipe, the best recipe of all, which I hope is in each of my books, especially in my latest story about two people rediscovering the joy of Christmas--The Christmas Husband Hunt, released today. I will definitely bake to celebrate.
Whatever your roots, I hope a family recipe makes it to your table flavored with tradition and love. Happy November, Happy Thanksgiving,
The Christmas Husband Hunt
When a husband is needed by Christmas, a trusted slender volume for ensuring a merry match is indeed a gift! In this Regency delight from beloved, award-winning author Kate Moore, a spirited governess joins a gentleman spy on a daring mission: finding a mate for a jilted debutante—while drawing dangerously close to each other . . .
Behind her seemingly dependent role as an unpaid caretaker—of both children and dogs—Harriet Swanley has in fact astutely avoided a forced marriage. But hers is not the only secret under wraps: Charles Davenham is working covertly to unmask a Russian agent—until the younger sister he’s always protected comes to him, recently rejected and clutching The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London. The little handbook would be a godsend—if only the distraught girl didn’t mangle all of its good advice! If Harriet can help Charles find a love match for his sibling, perhaps, in this season of good tidings, a long-buried attraction can set their own hearts aflame . . .
Praise for The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London
“Appealing protagonists and a slow simmering romance. An ideal choice for fans of traditional Regencies who enjoy the occasional dash of mystery.” –Library Journal
More About Kate
A native Californian, Kate taught English to generations of high school students, who are now her Facebook friends, while she not-so-secretly penned Romances. In Kate’s stories honorable, edgy loners meet warm, practical women who draw them into a circle of love whether in Regency London or contemporary California. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, a Pack ‘n Play for visiting grand babies, and miles of crowded bookshelves.