When I was a child my mother had remedies for whatever would ail us and to this day those remedies are what I want when I’m under the weather. I caught some nasty bug and have been confined to quarters for a week. Cabin fever didn’t set in because I felt so awful I had no desire to do anything or go anywhere. But things are looking up today and I think I’ll make a much needed trip to the grocery store.
Canned chicken noodle soup, hot tea with honey and rice custard pudding pulled us through many an illness when I was young and they are still the foods that taste best to me when I’m not feeling well. We all know the benefits of chicken soup and I liked the canned stuff because there was lots of broth and the noodles didn’t require much chewing. Tea and honey did wonders for a sore throat. My grandmother liked tea and a tablespoon of bourbon, but that’s another story. The honey works for me. And when we were feeling just a little bit better mom or my grandmother would make a creamy custard with lots of rice and raisins that would complete the job of getting us back to normal and off to school. They also prepared what we called “milk toast,” buttered toast in a bowl, topped with warm milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. I wonder if this was a common dish back then or something unique to my family. My great-grandmother, Katie, would make us line up each spring for our yearly dose of sulphur and molasses, a concoction she mixed up that we were forced to down with a big glass of water. We never knew what good it was supposed to do us, but she was adamant about its benefits and my mother didn’t argue with her. That’s one tradition I haven’t passed on…bleh!
Did you have special remedies when you were a child that always made you feel better? I never liked being sick, but I loved being wrapped up in a blanket, sitting on the sofa with my mother while she helped me with a cup of soup or some warm tea.
Old Fashioned Rice Custard
3 cups milk, scalded and cooled – See Note
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
3/4 cup raisins
Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
Break eggs into a 2 quart buttered casserole. Beat lightly with a fork.
Add milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Blend well.
Stir in rice, raisins and spices.
Set casserole in a pan of water.
Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Gently stir mixture after first 30 minutes of baking to distribute rice and raisins.
Click here for a Printable Recipe
NOTE: Have you ever wondered why some recipes call for scalding the milk in custards and puddings? When milk is scalded two important things happen. Custard cooks much faster when you start with warm milk. If you heat cold milk with eggs the eggs overcook and there is a good chance the custard will curdle. And scalding milk alters some of its protein which would otherwise form a thicker skin on the surface.