Today we’re pudding out plenty of good vibes. May 22 is National Vanilla Pudding Day!
In the modern vernacular, pudding usually refers to a dessert. (Side note: I’ve never used the phrase “modern vernacular” in a sentence before. I feel all kinds of smart). But it wasn’t always so. Pudding is derived from the French word boudin, which means “small sausage.” So guys, if your girlfriend ever refers to you as a “boudin,” take offense. Anyhoo. If you’re wondering what sausages have to do with pudding, in Medieval Europe puddings were primarily meat-based. To this day, in Europe they can be sweet or savory, and not very pudding-like at all, as we discovered when we had plum pudding, which is more of a cake (and not a very tasty one, no offense to you Brits). It was the ancient Romans who used eggs as a binding agent in their dishes, creating a custard very similar to what we think of as pudding in the U.S. Around the 1840s, American pudding began to differ from traditional boiled English pudding when we started using custard powder – a type of cornstarch – as a thickener. This proved handy to covered wagon cooks, who rarely had fresh eggs available. Instant custard and pudding mixes were introduced in the 1930s, and quickly became a popular dessert item due to their ease of preparation and convenience. Not to mention the fact that they’re delicious!
I would have liked to have attempted to make a homemade vanilla pudding, but we were short on time today. I settled instead for a box of Jell-O pudding – but at least went with the type you have to cook (which Tara had never tried) instead of instant. I even had leftover homemade whipped cream from yesterday to top it with. The results were wonderful!