tapioca carioca

Hello, Cutie.

Put on your best bib, grab a spoon, and dig into some homemade tapioca pudding. 🙂

by Bill Batcher
I like even the word "tapioca."
It sounds like the name of a Latin dance,
the beat of the Samba underscoring
the ritual movements of some Amazonian tribe.
"Come, let's do the Tapioca."
Or it could be the local indigenous name
of a tributary of the congo
the newsman Stanley hoped would
bring him closer to Dr. Livingstone.
"This is the Tapioca, I presume."
Or even a tropical insect,
whose bite transmits a lethal disease,
while its genes contain the secret
to conquering the riddle of aging.
"Tapioca face cream, $26.59 a jar."
Yet tapioca is more than these:
A confection that puts a spring
in my step, takes my spirit
to worlds unknown, and renews my youth,
when I loved those gelatinous pearls --
even when told they were frog eyes -- the bigger, the better.

Where is it from? There's the mystery,
unlike the rice pudding they try to pawn off
on me instead.
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another serving of hawaiian sweet bread pudding

When is a recipe more than just a recipe?

Back when I first started blogging in 2007, one of the first recipes I shared was for Hawaiian Sweet Bread Pudding. It’s so sinfully delicious, people are often surprised at how easy it is to make.

This longstanding Island favorite is perfect for neighborhood potlucks, bake sales, and school and church gatherings. It’s my go-to recipe for last minute guests, always fits the bill for relaxing Sunday brunches, and is just about as comforting as comfort food can get.

I’ve fed sweet bread pudding to painters, carpenters, and landscapers. To dinner guests I wanted to impress. To new neighbors and physical therapists. I even converted a fourth grade class of die-hard brownie and chocolate chip cookie lovers. One taste, and their stories magically brimmed with sensory detail.

But of all the happy eaters I’ve encountered, Roberta is my favorite.

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♥ miss edna lewis, my valentine â™Ą

“So many great souls have passed off the scene. The world has changed. We are now faced with picking up the pieces and trying to put them into shape, document them so the present-day young generation can see what southern food was like. The foundation on which it rested was pure ingredients, open-pollinated seed—planted and replanted for generations—natural fertilizers. We grew the seeds of what we ate, we worked with love and care.” ~ Edna Lewis (“What is Southern?”)


For me, she’s the one. The more I learn about Edna Lewis, the more I love her.

Since today marks the 7th anniversary of her passing at age 89, it’s a good time to celebrate her remarkable achievements as an award-winning chef, cooking teacher, caterer, cookbook author and Grand Dame of Southern Cuisine with a love-in-your-mouth piece of her Warm Gingerbread. Mmmmm-mmmmm!

long view

Miss Lewis, as she was always known, grew up in the small farming community of Freetown, which is located behind the village of Lahore in Orange County, Virginia (about 66 miles from where I live). Her grandfather founded Freetown with two other freed slaves and started the first area school in his living room.

Long before it became chic to advocate fresh, organic, seasonal ingredients and field-to-table cuisine, Edna and her fellow Freetown residents were enjoying a bucolic live-off-the-land existence — growing, harvesting and preserving their own food, gathering nature’s bounty (seeds, fruit, nuts), fishing the streams, hunting wild game in the woods, cultivating domestic animals.

In The Taste of Country Cooking (Knopf, 1976), a classic of Southern cuisine edited by the brilliant Judith Jones (also Julia Child’s editor), Edna shares recipes and reminiscences of the simple, flavorful, uniquely American, Virginia country cooking she grew up with, lovingly describing how they anticipated the select offerings of each season and celebrated special occasions like Christmas and Emancipation Day with full-out feasts.


We are reminded that there’s nothing better than a freshly picked sun-ripened apple, relishing a dish of Spring’s mixed greens (poke leaves, lamb’s-quarters, wild mustard), celebrating Summer’s bounty with deep-dish blackberry pies, apple dumplings, peach cobblers and pound cakes, sitting down to a Fall Emancipation Day dinner of Guinea Fowl Casserole, “the last green beans of the season and a delicious plum tart or newly ripened, fresh, stewed quince.” As Alice Waters says in her introduction, “sheer deliciousness that is only possible when food tastes like what it is, from a particular place, at a particular point in time.”

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dessert recipe archive

Aunty Inez’s Apple Pie

Not Violet, But Blueberry Pie, Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie, Blueberry Cobbler

 Honey Spice Cake

 Michie Tavern Crispy Peach Cobbler

Oahu Gingersnaps

Madeleines (Marcel Proust)

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

14 Carrot Cake (Beatrix Potter poems)

Chocolate Midnight Cake

Laura Ingalls Wilder Gingerbread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Fresh Rhubarb Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie

 Christmas Wreath Cookies

Neopolitan Cookies

Olivia Walton’s Applesauce Cake

Hawaiian Sweet Bread Pudding

Cookie Party (December 2007)

Chocolate Month (February 2008)

Creme Caramel

Lemon Bars

Strawberry Tart

Pumpkin Applesauce Teabread

Peach Pie (with Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee)

Roald Dahl’s Pishlets

Butter Cookies

Strawberry Cobblecake

Chocolate Cream Pie (Gourmet)

Sylvia’s Fruit Tart

Walnut Refrigerator Cookies

Julia Child’s Reine de Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake)

Julia Child’s Cherry Clafouti

Sweet Brown Sugar Shortbread (Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook)

Chocolate Madeleines (Abbey Cooks Entertain)

Warm Gingerbread with Sweetened Whipped Cream (Edna Lewis)

Littletown-Farm Carrot Cookies (Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook)

Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake (Meat Free Monday Cookbook)

New England Blueberry Slump

Apple Dumplings with Cider-Rum Sauce (Apple Lovers Cookbook)

Lemon Teacake (Tea and Cake)

Lemon Butter Cookies (A Fine Romance – Recipe by Rachel Lucas)

Rock Cakes (Downton Abbey Cooks)

Fruit Tartlets

Sliced Apple Pudding (Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book)

Cream Scones (America’s Test Kitchen)

Chocolate Biscuit Cake (Eating Royally)

Mrs. Coolidge’s IceBox Cookies (Politics and Pot Roast)

Traditional English Rice Pudding (Alexis Soyer)

Ratafia Cakes (Dinner with Mr. Darcy)

Lemon-Glazed Tea Cookies (Winnie-the-Pooh Cookie Book)

Claude Monet’s Madeleines au Citron (The Modern Art  Cookbook)

Apple Tarts (Paddington’s Cookery Book)

Yorkshire Parkin

Apple Pie (Kate Lebo’s PIE SCHOOL)

Dorie Greenspan’s Custardy Apple Squares

Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies (Baking Bites)

Ricotta Cookies (Lidia Bastianich)

Peach Cream Cheese Braided Danish (Natasha’s Kitchen)

Almond Cake (Kids Cook French, Claudine Pepin)

Chocolate Mud Puddles

Japanese Chi Chi Dango Mochi

Apple Brownies (Apple Lover’s Cookbook)

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

English Chocolate Crisps (Ina Garten)

Yogurt Marmalade Cake (Pioneer Woman)

Melting Snowman Cookies

Carrot Cupcakes

1610 Rose Cakes (Shakespeare’s Kitchen)

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies (King Arthur Flour)

Lemon Drizzle Cake (Linda McCartney)

Honey Chocolate Pie (Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook)

Orange Raspberry Victoria Sponge (Sophie Dahl)

Cottage Cheese Pie

Potato Chip Cookies (Susan Branch)

Chelsea Clinton’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Raspberry Lattice Bars

Oatmeal Cake with Pecan Coconut Frosting

Peanut Blossom Cookies

Vanilla Rennet Custard (Junket)

Baked Apple Oatmeal Pudding

Almond Brown Butter Cake (Fanny in France)

Chocolate Brownie Valentine Hearts

Peach and Cherry Upside-Down Cake (Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story)

Pineapple Macadamia Bars (M.E. Furman/A World of Cookies for Santa)

Apple Pandowdy

Anne’s Liniment Cake with Creamy Butter Frosting (The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook)

Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

Lemon Pound Cake (from Cake by Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman)

Chocolate, Nut and Fruit Treats (from A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey by Jacques PĂ©pin)

Christmas Coffee Cake (Susan Branch’s Christmas from the Heart of the Home)

Chocolate Soup for Two

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Sour Cream Lemon Puff Pastry Shells

Macaroons (The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook)

Madeleines (The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook)

Jo’s Gingerbread (The Little Women Cookbook by Mini Moranville)

Mary Todd Lincoln’s Almond Pound Cake (Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen by Rae Katherine Eighmey)

Blackberry and Apple Upside-Down Cake (Beatrix Potter’s Country Cooking)

Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake

Cranberry Scones with Orange Glaze (Secret Garden Cookbook)

Yorkshire Oatcakes (Secret Garden Cookbook)

Lemon Bars (Heart in Hand Cookbook)

Blueberry Bars

Windfall Apple Cake (Brambly Hedge)

Snowball Cookies

Ginger-nut Biscuits (Outlander Kitchen Cookbook)

Jam Tarts (Outlander Kitchen Cookbook)

Chocolate Crisps (Winnie-the-Pooh Cookie Book)

Mrs. Dickinson’s Custard Pie (Emily Dickinson Cookbook)

Jasmine Tea Biscuits (Emily Dickinson Cookbook)

Chocolate and Salted Pistachio Cookies (Tea at the Palace Cookbook)

Little Scones with Strawberries and Clotted Cream (Tea at the Palace Cookbook)

Mary Berry’s Fairy Cakes

Madeline’s Madeleines

Tantalizing Raspberry Tarts (Anne of Green Gables Cookbook)

Eloise’s Rawther Crinkly Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies