1st Day Issue / Postalo Vleeptron: Indian Pudding / Animal Fat / Sugar / African Slaves / Grandma's Molasses / Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with Slaves / Screech Rum / Fer-de-lance
Postalö Vleeptron / First Day Issue
Regardless of what your heart and diabetes doctors and your dentist say, people in horribly cold places have always fought winter with Animal Fat and Sugar. At the emergency winter homeless shelter, we purposely cook unhealthy food -- the guests must spend the day outdoors in bitter cold, and the big doses of fat and sugar the guests crave help them survive the winter. For the homeless, Winter in New England is not a Heart-Smart veggie Mediterranean Diet season. They focus on living until March, and pay little heed to living until 2044. Some of them will be lucky to see who wins the November 2012 USA presidential election, Obama or the surprise winner of the Iowa Republican caucus, PeeWee Herman.
New England's First Peoples may have invented this dish and passed the recipe to the Puritan European settlers. (Bad navigation -- no one could determine Longitude in those days -- landed them in Massachusetts; they had contracted for a voyage to the much warmer Virginia colony, but the Mayflower captain refused to take the angry Puritans 600 miles south).
On a freezing winter evening, this stuff, served piping hot, is unimaginably delicious, and even brings happiness and fun to a bitter winter evening. It takes all day to cook, and fills the house with the most rich, delicious aroma.
This is not a haute-cuisine dish. It's very earthy, crude and primitive, from Grandma's kitchen wood stove. Restaurants don't serve it much because if cooked properly (very slowly), it hogs up the oven all day. But many New England restaurants and diners do make it a weekly special, and the folks really appreciate the rare chance to eat these concentrated toxins in January.
Today molasses and coarse-ground corn/maize meal are hard, but not impossible, to find. Corn meal is ground superfine in modern industrial mills, and only specialty firms use old millstones
- ... Promise was that I
- Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
- Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
- Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves ...
to grind the corn. (But they turn the old millstones with electric motors, not with slaves or water wheels.)
Molasses was an intermediate product of the 17th-18th century Atlantic trade of sugar and African slaves, who harvested the Caribbean sugar cane. (Rum -- fermented sugar cane juice -- was also a very popular product of the Triangle Trade. Keep your eye out for Newfoundland's "Screech" rum. You can run your lawnmower with it.) Tea with sugar had become a hugely profitable import industry in Europe. The sugar fields of one sugar island -- maybe Martinique -- is infested with the Fer-de-lance, one of the most poisonous snakes on Earth.
In an electric slow-cooker/crockpot, you can prepare this stuff the night before or in the morning, turn the crockpot to LOW, then leave the house to go to work, and your Indian Pudding will be perfectly cooked for dessert that night, and house will not have burned to the ground in your absence. Pick up a quart of vanilla ice cream on the way home.
I made some and we ate it New Years Day! And we're still nuking it and eating it! I gave myself extra insulin!
I confess, I've become a Single-Issue Whore. I'm sick of dead and maimed American soldiers and dead and maimed Third-World civilians. T'ain't Christian. T'ain't rational.