I Moved To Oaxaca

Saturday, November 08, 2003

It's Saturday night, and I just got back from a datelet with G-man. Took him to see Matrix Revolutions. Not as bad as you'd think reading rottentomatoes.com. And not as bad as Revenge of the Teddi ... uh, Revenge of the Jedi. Best part was seeing the trailer for Return of the King a second time. Whoo!

So, how did the dead-bread pudding go? Like this:

I downloaded four bread pudding recipes off the Internet. None were formulated in a Mexican kitchen. I knew I might have problems getting all the ingredients, so I hedged my bets and made a list featuring the ingredients from all four recipes. It’s not like I’m gonna run out of dead-bread anytime soon.

I did not find all the ingredients at Soriana’s. Opened all four recipes on the Mac and set to work.

So here’s my recipe for dead-bread pudding:

1) Buy an enamel-ware pan at the supermercado. Scrape off the label and decide that wiping it out with a cloth will probably make it more germ-free than washing it out in tap water. Use the margarine Timothy bought (what was he thinking?) to grease the pan.

2) Crumble two loaves of dead-bread into the pan. Set aside the little painted dough faces for a later project.

3) Couldn’t find cream or half ‘n’ half or evaporated milk at the supermercado, so use milk instead. Realize each recipe calls for a differing amount – one calls for water! – so guess that 2 c. is sufficient.

4) Decide that the King’s Hawaiian Bread Pudding recipe is probably closest to calling for the right amount of sugar: 1/2 c. Realize that I don’t know where the measuring spoons are; did I bring them? Go with 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Add some chopped-up margarine. Wonder what is in Mexican margarine exactly.

5) Eggs next. 3 large, lightly beaten eggs, 3 egg whites, 2 slightly beaten eggs, or none? Settle for 3 slightly beaten eggs of various sizes, as the eggs at Pitico aren’t sorted by size anyway. Add a pinch of salt because it seems reasonable, then go for broke and add a can of pineapple pieces. Mix the whole thing up while Greg lights the oven for me. Lid on or lid off; all four recipes are silent on this topic. Prevaricate for a couple of minutes. Decide a crispy brown top means baking with the lid off. Look at the oven dial while opening the door and notice that, if the dial had numbers at one time (which isn’t a sure bet), it doesn’t have any now. Don’t bother converting Fahrenheit to Celsius. Notice next that the single oven rack is way up near the top of the oven. Grab a dish towel to move it to the lower rack. It won’t come out. Struggle with it for several minutes, cursing and shaking the stove.

Greg comes over to give it a try before I destroy the oven. The rack won’t budge. Get the flashlight. Turn the oven off after Greg sets the dishtowel on fire. Invoking Orlanth (“Violence is always an option!”), G-man finally yanks it out and places it gently on the lower setting. Relight oven, guess at a temperature setting, put the top on the baking pan, and hope for the best.

Recipes all agree on 40-minute cooking time, but I begin to smell crispy bread at the 20-minute mark. Take a peek; it looks done … turn off oven and leave the pan sitting in there for another 10 minutes just to be sure. Plop some in a bowl and spray on some whipped cream. Comments range from “not bad” to “it’s edible.” Agreement all around, however, that the dead-bread pudding is better than a giant bag of stale bread.


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