March 10, 2009

I approached today’s TWD recipe with much anticipation.  We all have food memories that evoke our past unlike any other sensory experience. Baked custard is one of those memories for me. When I was a small child, my grandmother (who lived 4 blocks from us,  although at that time the 4 blocks seemed like miles!) would frequently stop at our house on her way to work. She would drive up in her light blue Corvair, stop directly in front of our house on our tree-lined street, and frequently bring 4 perfect dishes of baked vanilla custard in small Pyrex ramekins. This was remarkable for several reasons. First, my grandmother cooked very little, so these treasures seemed out of character for her. My grandma did not seem like the type of person who would allow flour (or for that matter any baking ingredient) to ruin her perfectly starched dresses. Second, we RARELY had dessert at dinner, so these summer days in which she would bring us custard promised that we’d have a very special ending to our otherwise mundane meals. I have spent many hours trying to replicate my grandmother’s recipe, since no one in my family has ever found the recipe card on which she copied the ingredients or methods she used. I have made countless creme brulees and creme caramels. I have made vanilla pot de cremes and Catalon cremes. Nothing has captured the essence of vanilla and rich (but not too rich) quality of my grandmother’s dessert that remains in my memory. So, as I read Dorie’s recipe, I was certain that the day had come! After making the custard (the vanilla variation of course), the first thing my two daughters said to me was, “We are so lucky to have you as a mom. You make us such wonderful desserts.” I tasted the baked custard and thought to myself, “What are you talking about? This doesn’t taste ANYTHING like Grandma Rose’s custard.” It seemed thin and not intensely vanilla compared to my memory of hers. However, as I watched my daughters savor the dessert, I realized maybe Dorie’s recipe has replicated what my grandma made! I provided my girls the same smiles that I remember having as I took bites of her special dessert and the same thoughts of  how lucky I was to have someone who made baked custard for me.


8 Responses to “Memories”

  1. Susan Says:

    Nice post. I relate lots of foods to the people who made them for me…you are creating a nice memory for your girls.
    Great job!

  2. pinkstripes Says:

    Wow. What a great post. How cool that you came to the realization that it’s the feelings and memories that count.

  3. pamela Says:

    What a really wonderful post! I think some of the best memories come out of the kitchen! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Teanna Says:

    That is the sweetest story EVER!

  5. jane S Says:

    what a great memory and nice way to talk about it. You are a great mom and they are lucky to have you

  6. Megan Says:

    How sweet. I just love it when my kids say things like that – and it’s something they will always remember.

  7. juju73 Says:

    What a wonderful post!!!!

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