Milk puddings

I’m not sure many people eat milk puddings anymore, apart from rice pudding which is now conveniently available in tins and sachets. If I went back now to my childhood, and sat beside myself at lunch (the midday meal at home didn’t get called dinner until much later; as a child, dinner was something which was eaten in the evening – we didn’t have it because we had lunch, then a snack meal at tea-time) – if I went back to when I was a child, would I enjoy what we ate as much as I did then. My mum was a wonderful cook, so there’d be nothing wrong with any of the meals, no soggy vegetables, no over-cooked meals, most things made from scratch, but would I really want, appreciate or even like what was on the menu? I am not a person who likes desserts or puddings after a meal, so whatever was on offer I think I would either politely decline or have a very small portion.

The milk pudding we had most regally was rice pudding, made with full-fat milk – I’m not sure skimmed was available, sweetened with sugar and with a generous grating of fresh nutmeg on the top. We must have had another milk pudding which was served with a big spoonful of jam, was it semolina? Or was it tapioca or sago? I’m struggling now to recall which was which, and what the difference was between semolina and sago. I have a feeling tapioca was the one with larger grains, and whichever of the other two we had was more sandy and granular – which doesn’t sound very nice, but at the time we thought it delicious. Now I’m wondering where couscous fits – not that we ever had it, I’d never heard of it, and I don’t think ate it until I ‘d left home and gone to Manchester.

According to Wikipedia:

  • Sago is a starch extracted from the spongy centre, or pith, of various tropical palm stems,
  • Tapioca is a starch extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant also known as manioc
  • Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings (intermediate milling stage) of durum wheat

I was wondering about couscous and my question was answered by the last part of the sentence about semolina:

  • Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings  of durum wheat mainly used in making couscous

I think I’m probably the same as many people, nostalgic as I am for meals from the past, I’m actually not sure I would actually want or like them! My featured image is of my attempt to make polenta cake, for no real reason except I have no pictures of sago, tapioca or semolina!


    1. Lois

      For some reason we didn’t have blancmange at home, but we did have fluff – jelly made up to half quantity with water then as it begins to set evaporated milk beaten furiously into it! I’m feeling quite nostalgic for it now! I first came across sterry when I went to Manchester. I don’t know if whether it was because where we lived as a children was a country area with lots of farms so we just had ordinary milk, or whether my parents didn’t like it… no idea!


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