Tuesday, February 8, 2011

TWD: Bourbon Bread Pudding


When I moved away from Wisconsin a bit under a year ago, I was excited. How could I not be? When I started applying to graduate schools, one of the top priorities was applying to programs in locations where I'd like to live for a long, long time. Places like Seattle, with vibrant food communities and outstanding cultural opportunities. Or Boulder, with its amazing community feel. And Chapel Hill, where I can indulge my love of basketball (honestly earned by growing up in Indiana, the home of March Madness). I said goodbye to the white bread Midwestern states, full of corn and flat as far as the eye can see. And then... And then.

Something strange happened. I got to Chapel Hill, and it was too hot. I stopped at the farmer's market and was disconcerted by the lack of the shout "Hot spicy cheese bread!" that I made fun of so much when I went to the Madison Farmer's Market. There was a distinct lack of cheese brats, beer brats, and bad beer. There was a distinct lack of cheese. And when the professional football season started, things went even further downhill. I guess I can't blame North Carolinians, because if my team was that sad, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't care very much about the NFL. But you know what I missed? The green jerseys, worn the day before and day of every Packer game during the whole season. How the guys on the floor would congregate in the quietest part of the plant so that they could pay as much attention as possible to the game. The endless recaps during the day after, as everyone rehashed how awesome the Packers were or noted every minute mistake that was made. And through it all, the incredible loyalty. This is their team.

 
You could see it on Sunday. Many times, even if a team makes it to the Super Bowl, their fans aren't travellers. They won't fly halfway across the country to see their team play. The Super Bowl tends to be rather lacking in crowd noise, populated as it is by some of the see-and-be-seen crowd. Luckily, we struck gold in Sunday's matchup - Steeler fans and Packer fans are not fair-weather. They will go to the ends of the earth to watch their team play. There were cheese heads and terrible towels galore. I watched from home, with a few friends. We drank quite a bit of Wisconsin beer, and there were a few times where our yelling scared the living daylights out of Annabelle. To be fair, our shindig was maybe a bit more highbrow than many that occurred in Wisconsin - beer bread was made with a microbrew and some whole wheat flour, french onion dip was from scratch (and vegetables were dipped in it - the horror!), and I'm pretty sure no good Packer fan would make something like a pork and fruit ragout to eat while watching their team play. Brownies weren't from a box. But I think it's a compromise. And it led me to a realization - Wisconsin is a pretty damned good state.

There's probably only one thing left to say - Congrats Packers, and go Pack go!


Oh, oh right. And the bread pudding. Well, we're not really bread pudding fans over here, so I just made one little ramekin of it using a stale whole wheat baguette and some whiskey (it was in a plastic bottle. yep, J's a klassy guy.). If nothing else, it smelled darned amazing in the oven. Then again, vanilla + whiskey = never a bad idea. Only good things come from that combo.
Next Week: Chocolate Oatmeal Drops (basically, brownie cookies you can pretend are healthy because look! There's oats in there!)

12 comments:

Kayte said...

Great post! Mark grew up in Wisconsin from 2nd grade until 11th grade and he is a Packers fan as well...and all about the cheese and brats and beer, etc. I think once it all gets hold of you, it's there for life. Cute little tiny bread pudding! I opted out for a pie that I'd missed...it is National Pie Month and all.

Nemmie said...

And might I add: the reason I added your food blog to my blogger is because at the time, you were in WI and not far from where I was raised (aaaaaah, Wisconsin)...

Wisconsin is an underestimated state, just lovely and even though it's been more than a decade since I've lived there, I miss it dearly. Glad you have fond memories. And oh yeah: that's a nice looking bread pudding :)

PS - North Carolina who? ROCK CHALK!

Flourchild said...

Nice little ramk. of pudding!

Lauryn said...

Yaay, go Packers! I went to college at The University of Wisconsin - Madison so I hold the state dear to my heart too!

Jessica said...

Go Packers!! Good to see another displaced Midwesterner! No matter how far away you move, there are certain things about the Midwest you just miss. I'm from Southern Illinois, now in NYC, and I miss good sweet corn!! Oh, and very nice bread pudding!

sweetalchemy said...

I see I'm in good company as a displaced Midwesterner. I've been in central New York for almost two years, and I was in Ohio for two years before that (all for grad school). I didn't realize how much I loved Wisconsin until I left. Now my big dream is just to wind up back in the dairy state again someday!

Kristin said...

Puh-leeze...Grew up in Madison, UW grad...& baker & cook of GOOD food. Glad you've found things to miss about Wisconsin. Wish I still lived there...in the summer anyway. Haven't figured out where I want to be in the winter yet.

Kristin said...

Puh-leeze...Grew up in Madison, UW grad...& baker & cook of GOOD food. Glad you've found things to miss about Wisconsin. Wish I still lived there...in the summer anyway. Haven't figured out where I want to be in the winter yet.

Caroline said...

I'm kind of the same way after I moved from Maryland. There were so many things that bugged me while I was there, but once I left, I realized how much I missed certain aspects of it. Sure, Maryland has it's problems, but it's a pretty darn good state, too. It's funny, most of the people that saw this TWD recipe don't like bread pudding. I adore it! I should really try this one out, because whiskey and vanilla sound like a winning combination to me!

Kristina said...

I'm very happy our family is back in Tennessee - Wisconsin just wasn't the place for us - but there's a lot to admire about that state. I miss it and I wish I had visited Madtown's farmer's market before we moved.

And that pudding? It NEEDS TO GET IN MY BELLY NOW!!!

Boodle said...

But how, really, did you make it?

I never liked the idea of bread pudding but a strange pastry recently made me think differently.

Share your process if you will! :D

TeaLady said...

I always enjoy your posts.

Too bad the bread pudding wasn't your thing. Guess you have to like bread pudding to really enjoy bread pudding.