Friday, April 5, 2013

flashback friday - ma's sweet rice

As frustrated as I can get with Luke about his preference for all things sweet, I have to remind myself it's a pot-calling-the-kettle-black kind of thing.  The sweet tooth is hereditary, I can promise you, and it came straight from me.  I had no choice, mind you.  Between my dad and my grandmother, I was destined to crave the more dessert-type fare, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Today's flashback takes me to many, many mornings... especially those on the cooler side... when I would make my way up the stairs to my grandparent's kitchen to eat before leaving for school.  I'd sit at the far end of the kitchen table/bar - the kind made from white formica, complete with those teeny tiny golden flecks of paint - and watch the small black and white TV at the other end.  Following Captain Kangaroo was a local children's morning show, The Peggy Mitchell Show, that I loved.  So much so, I even made an appearance on it, once.  In fact, when Ms. Peggy's puppet asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told her, "deaf."  That was followed by the puppet's jolting turn towards me, and in Peggy's own voice rather than the puppet's, a squalling, "What?!?!?". 

It's hilarious for me to even think about now.  I can't imagine what the TV audience thought as they watched!  Obviously, I didn't want to be deaf, but I was very interested in working with special needs children and was learning sign language with my mom, a special education assistant at the time.  "I want to be an interpreter for the hearing impaired" was just not coming to mind at seven years old, so "deaf" it was.

At any rate, those mornings were precious to me as I'd watch Popie get ready for work and Ma stand at the stove, stirring and stirring.  Nine times out of the ten, she was making this rice... sweet rice, that is.  There was no other kind in Ma's book.  Right off the burner, I remember her always pouring it straight out of the pan into my bowl and wonder why I wasn't eating it up.  I didn't have the heart to tell her it would burn off my tongue if I did.  So I'd blow and blow (and blow some more) while she asked me one thousand times if it needed more sugar, a bit more milk, and on, and on... 

Bless her sweet four-foot-ten soul.

Nothing.  I mean nothing beats a bowl of this stuff when you need to feel good and warm down to your toes... buttery, creamy, sweet comfort absolutely rolled into every bite.  And if you're really good, you know how to ration the toast just right, so that the last crumb happens to end up right alongside the final spoonful of rice.

I do not measure anything in this.  I take a couple of cups of cooked rice and add whole milk, real butter, real sugar, and cinnamon until just right.  Then I pour it straight into the bowl, steaming hot, because carrying on tradition is half the fun, right?  It is a total "to-taste" deal. Easy, nostalgic...  perfect.