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Hello! Welcome to my online travel-food-life journal/virtual scrapbook. I am a poet, playwright, journalist, editor and basic jack-of-all-trades writer. I was born in El Salvador and raised in Minnesota. I have just returned home from a year and a half in South Africa.

27 March 2013

Boston 3: Pudding Lust

When we left off we had just finished (barely!) the Freedom Trail.  The following day was our last full day in Boston, so I wanted to spend the day at Harvard.

But first, we stopped for lunch at one of my favorite old haunts.  

And "haunts" is the perfect word, for I was indeed haunted ... by a pudding.

No, I know that sounds dramatic, but really.  Have you ever had an experience where you taste something and it's so sublime that you spend years trying to find it again?

Well, once upon a time, a little Harvard undergrad worked at a social service agency in Central Square (one subway stop away from Harvard Square, but a whole other world away.)  Sometimes, when she had a bit of extra money in her pocket, she would stop at this Indian joint and feast on their buffet.  Their samosas were amazing, the lassis excellent ... but it was their kheer that made her see unicorns and double rainbows.

 ... lo and behold over 15 years later, it's still there!  Shalimar of India how I have missed you! 

Kheer is Indian rice pudding -- delicate and divine -- and no one, absolutely no one does it better!  Believe me, I've tried kheer at so many Indian restaurants and nothing has ever come close.  It'd been over a decade and a half that I've been dreaming about the perfection of this kheer ... and how was it? 

Oh.  Oh.  There are no words.  Except these: delicate bits of rice, subtly perfumed with cardamom, tiny slivers of almond, the occasional golden raisin and an almost toffee-like aftertaste.

After some shameless flattery, I got the owner to give me the recipe -- the ingredients at least, not the exact measurements -- which I doubt he'd be able to tell me anyways.  I have a feeling it's just one of those things that they've made thousands of times and never even think about.  He said the true secret is that, "As long as you cook it, that is how good it will be.  And keep stirring."  

So I'm setting myself a challenge.  Picture me stirring pot after pot, hour after hour, peeking in anxiously -- that's how I'm gonna be spending my Friday nights!  I am determined to make this at home.  I can't go another 15 years without that taste.  

Actually though, I'm almost afraid to start experimenting to recreate the recipe, because if by some culinary miracle I actually get close, I'm afraid that I'm gonna hafta devour it by the panful.  

I'll keep you updated!

Anyhoo, that's the tale of one girl's 15-year pudding lust.  Tomorrow, Harvard!

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