Just Like Grandma Used to Make


A few months ago, I decided that I needed Southern rice pudding. Rice pudding in the Midwest is not the same as it is in the South, it's instead some sort of weird gooey condensed milk with some rice in it and cinnamon and raisins. No thanks. Southern rice pudding is thick and more like a sweet rice casserole. So I was going to have to make it myself.

My Memaw Bane and Dad used to make the BEST rice pudding. Dad used to call his "Jethro Tull Rice Pudding" because it was "Thick as a Brick." It sucks that I can't ask either of them for recipes anymore, cause I loved almost everything they made. I did a bunch of google searches for "Southern Rice Pudding" and even looked in my ultimate recipe guide--my Highland Baptist Church cookbook that I go to for everything. Nothing looked right. So I made my own concoction--a mish-mash of a bunch of recipes that I found. The pudding was a dreadful failure.

Since I am currently cleaning out my mother's house and going through a lifetime's worth of paperwork and memories, and having also recently done this at my grandmother's house, I am inspired right now to purge everything from my past. Since Fuzzy and I won't have any children to do this for us, and since we now have the deadline of Age 53 for us (The age Dad died and Mom got sick), I figure there is no time like the present to sort all the newspaper clippings, show programs, and letters that I have accumulated in my almost 31 years, scan them in, and throw them away. I did this for hours on Sunday, and in my giant drawers of keepsakes, I found a number of cards from my memaw that she sent after I moved to Chicago (in every single one, she wondered if I could read her "chicken" or "hen scratch"). In one nondescript one, there it was, a card with HER RECIPE FOR RICE PUDDING!

I wasted no time at all--I made it last night. Holy Moles, is it ever good. It came out perfect, too--the top browned lightly, the rice sweet-but not too sweet, moist, but not gooey. It was perfect. A delicious taste from my childhood.

Here is the recipe:
Use about 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter, melted
Add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups milk, and mix real good (get the clumps out)

Pour into a buttered pyrex baking dish (I used an 8 in square pan) and cook at 350 for about an hour. Don't get it too dry (mine cooked about an hour.) She says, "I usually just throw it all together and hope for the best." It certainly is.

Another of my favorite recipes of hers is her Chicken and Dumplings. I fortunately had the forethought to get my mother to get this recipe from her before she moved into the nursing home. It can be made in the broth of a boiled chicken, or cubed chicken breasts with stock and whatever veggies you want (usually carrots, potatoes, onions, and I love putting in spinach). You can make it a vegetarian recipe with veggie broth and the veggies of your choice. I like TONS of dumplings, so I usually double or triple this recipe.

Chicken & Dumplings
1 Cup sifted (or wisked) self-rising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons veg. oil

Combine milk and oil, add to dry ingredients, stirring til moistened.
Drop by Tablespoons into boiling broth - cover tightly - bring to boil again. Reduce heat -don't remove cover, simmer 12-15 minutes.

These dumplings will be dense and fluffy and delicious. I like to spice them up with cayenne pepper, cracked black pepper and Tony Chachere's before adding the wet ingredients.

That's good eatin', y'all!


Holy crap, I'm going to make both these recipes. Southern lovin' food sounds perfect right now, but I'll use Sam Donavan spice instead.
Love you!

I have been hungry for rice pudding so will try your recipe--I like recipes that I inherit form "the kids." My brother made me some a few years ago. He used my heavy enamel cast iron cookware. Unfortunately I had used it before to saute onions and garlic. Let me just say that garlic rice pudding is not as good as garlic cheese grits.

Oh my I know what we will be eating tonight!! Thanks Erica for the recipes =) I remember my Meme's dumplings being so yummy and fluffy and I can't wait to try your grandmother's!!

Now I want some rice puddin'!

My Gramma Ode made the BEST chicken and dumplings... I have her recipe somewhere. I know it featured Crisco and some sort of biscuit mix...

Damn, I miss her cooking. She was from the mountains of North Carolina, and she could just feed you to DEATH!!! We had fresh biscuits with country ham, grits and red-eye gravy every morning for breakfast when we would visit her.