Friday, January 21, 2011

Hasty Pudding

Recently I have been trying to do a cooking activity with the kids after we finish reading a chapter book, or any fun book.  I especially enjoy doing this after reading a book that takes place in a different time period or region.  One of the things I love about food is that it is something we all need no matter where we are from, so it is an easy way for kids to relate to a new place or region, while at the same time learning about that time period or place.
Our most recent book was "Revolutionary War on Wednesday", which is from the Mary Pope Osborne Magic Tree House series.  I had originally thought it would be fun to do a winter cookout, similar to what Washington and his men experienced, but I believe there is a reason I don't live in the Colonial days.  I would have mad a terrible pioneer, I like modern day comforts, like heat.  So, even though we had perfect conditions - frigged temperatures and snow, I couldn't get myself to head out into the elements for a lovely meal of mush cooked over a fire.  Instead we opted for a colonial day treat, hasty pudding.

This was a quick snack to prepare that allowed for a variety of discussions.  We were able to discuss what other products we use that are similar to cornmeal and how grains are processed so we can use them as meal or flour.
As a coincidence we had polenta for dinner earlier in the week so we were able to discuss the similiarites between the two dishes as well as why it might be a dish that is eaten in different parts of the world and why it was a dish that would be available to a lot of people.  We broke out the maps and looked at where England and Italy are and who we know who live in those countries.  It was one of those rare times when everyone was engaged and interested and nobody (meaning me) was stressed out about messes or other things that needed to be done.  It was a great snack, not for the quality of the food, but for the moment in which it was shared, the perfect example of why I love food so much.

Hasty Pudding
2 cups Milk
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 Tbs Butter
1/4 cup Maple Syrup

Combine milk and cornmeal.  Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add butter, stir until melted.  Stir in syrup and serve.

*we added diced pear to our pudding for an added treat.
**pictures by Liam (age 5)