Talk about adventures in eating….
This adventure involves a very high rate of coincidence:
Years ago, I read a historical novel about a pioneering family and one of the dishes they served at a Colonial feast was Corn Pudding. Well, this dish fired my imagination. I’d never heard of Corn Pudding before and couldn’t picture the dish. Was it a main dish, a side dish or a dessert? Was it sweet or savory?The context of the story was not helpful with that information. I know that the term pudding in Britain refers to a cake or sometimes a casserole-like dish.It wasn’t much to go on. I looked through all the cookbooks I owned and still drew a blank. Hmmm…. I put it on my list of items to research further when I had more time. This was before I owned a computer so it meant a trip to the library at least.
Meanwhile, I was drawn to stop at a yard sale the next weekend when I spied boxes of books in front of the tables on a lawn. I am always looking for old cookbooks for a steal. The first box I looked in had an old cookbook on the top with the cover partially ripped off. It was marked ten cents. I picked up the book and it opened to a page with a recipe for Corn Pudding! Of course, I immediately bought it and left. Wow! Be careful what you ask for!
So, it sounded like a savory side dish, a sort of cross between a souffle and a casserole from the sound of it. The recipe called for whole steamed corn kernels, savory herbs, eggs, cream and salt. I decided to try it for our next family Thanksgiving gathering.
The following week, I attended a storytelling and full-course meal at the Corner House Inn in Sandwich NH. These storytelling dinners are wonderful affairs and very reasonably priced. They include a meal beginning with wine and homemade bread selection, progressing to an interesting salad, then the entrée which is always wonderful, with a main dish and one or two sides, ending in a festive old- fashioned dessert with coffee or tea. There is usually a ‘traditional’ or a ‘vegetarian’ option. I don’t usually know in advance what the menu is because it’s always been great and the surprise element adds to the fun. They will tell you in advance if you call and ask.
The meals are served family style, and are often of the vintage New England variety, and are always made with the freshest ingredients, served attractively. If you come with a table full of folks and want to sit together, that is fine, otherwise they will sit you with other small and single parties to make up a table. I have met a lot of interesting folks this way. After the meal is finished, we settle in for an evening of entertainment by one or more storytellers around the fireplace. These programs happen every Thursday evening between the end of October and the end of May and are a wonderful way to pass a fall or winter evening. If you would like to attend one of these popular programs, I highly recommend calling in advance to make reservations.
Anyway, when my meal arrived that week, imagine my surprise, nay shock, when a small casserole dish arrived on the side, containing none other than corn pudding! It was wonderful.
Could this be any more of a coincidence? Within a couple of weeks, I’d gone from reading about this dish and wondering what it was, as I’d never heard of it before, to actually being served it unexpectedly!
Here’s a recipe adapted from an old cookbook, if you’d like to try it.
Corn Pudding Recipe
2 c. creamed corn
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. flour
1 c. light cream
1 onion diced and sautéed
3 eggs separated
½ tsp. each thyme, rosemary and sage, ground
Pinch of salt
Blend flour and butter, stir in cream. Stir over medium heat until thickened, reduce to low.
Add corn and onion.
Beat 3 egg yolks, combine with one cup of corn mixture. Mix well and add to remaining corn mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Beat 3 egg whites and add a pinch of salt. Fold egg whites into corn mixture.
Pour all into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until it is firm and golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending upon the dimensions of your dish.