For a long time I found myself disappointed with the quality of apricots I found at the greenmarkets. I remember desserts of bright orange with vibrant flavor and sweetness. Yet with every (pretty expensive) apricot I bite into, I feel underwhelmed. It was only after I did some research online that I learned those bland apricots I tasted are perfectly right. Apricots are amazing in the way that they are the only fruit that truly comes alive after being cooked. You’ll never get the same satisfaction from a raw apricot as you would a juicy peach but cook them up in a bread pudding or even can them and you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.
Bread pudding has always been a favorite of mine. Petit Oven makes the most amazing bread pudding I’ve ever tasted. Warm and spongy, swimming in a pool of salted caramel sauce. I sometimes joke, just give me a bowl of caramel! Their dessert menu is small, usually the bread pudding and one other item, though with to items of near perfection, what else would you want. I always consider bread pudding as an option to bring to family meals, but it’s not really an option. On one side, I have bread pudding haters (I know, I don’t really understand either), and on the other side I have gluten-free eaters. Considering I’ve never made one regular bread pudding, I was not about to start with a gluten-free version. And considering a recipe requires a full loaf of Italian bread, it’s not something my husband and I alone
could should eat. So it’s true. I’ve never had the opportunity to make a bread pudding. Until a few weekends ago.
I have a tendency to hoard food. There’s no basis for this habit. I’ve always been well fed (too well fed as my scale sometimes notes) and never gone without, but for some reason I have this anxiety that if I eat it all, I can’t get it again. Maybe it happened when I started taking this locavore thing so seriously. The realization that strawberries can’t grow year round in the northeast. I need to get my fill while they’re in season, preserve their flavors as best I can and hunker down for a round 9 months without seeing them again. By the time strawberry season finishes, I’ve stuff myself so full I can’t imagine having even the smallest of berries. That lasts for about a month or so, then the cravings return with a vengeance. Preserving helps, knowing that I have fresh strawberry jam to last the winter puts me slightly at ease. Until it doesn’t. I only have 6 jars to survive the winter (let’s forget about the other few dozen types of jam I also have stored up in my pantry). I panick. Will they really last? So I ration myself, allowing myself only a small spoonful of the sweet chunky jam every few weeks, determined to make my inventory last. Fast forward 9 months later, as strawberries start to surface at the greenmarkets and I find myself still left with 4 jars. I’ve rationed too well and find myself pushing jars of jam on everyone I know (thanks for holding the subway door for me; here, have some homemade jam) so I can start fresh in the new season.