I'm tired. It's been a Long Week--maybe it has been for all of you? So instead of a somewhat coherent (?), post, I wanted to throw out something I've been pondering and see what you, wise internet people, think about this.
Sunday's outing to the park made me wonder about how to deal with snap-happy photographers who take pictures of your kids without asking. Let me quickly add that I love photography and I like to take pictures--it's a hobby of mine. I do have certain personal guidelines, though. I never take pictures of other people's children, unless they've given me permission to do so, and I always ask first whenever I take pictures of other people in general (unless it's a crowd shot, of course).
Sunday was gorgeous and there were people out and about doing all kind of picturesque spring-like things. I'm biased, but I have to say that I think my kids are pretty picturesque most of the time (except while throwing tantrums) but T. and L. were particularly photo-worthy that day: L. running with the kite streaming after him, T. chasing after it, arms outstretched, hair flying back in the wind, delight shining out of her from head to toe. A couple of amateur photographers took an interest in my kids and took a number of photos of them flying the kite and running about--and never asked for permission, or talked with me. I didn't really think to say anything until later, but then the Runaway Kite Drama happened. Now I'm wondering: what do you do when strangers take your children's pictures? Is this okay for you? I know they meant my kids no harm, but I wonder what the etiquette is for dealing (politely) with snap-happy amateur photographers. What would you have done? Am I being over-paranoid to squirm a little about this?
I've written before about how I so often associate food with memories--how the two sometimes become inextricably combined--particularly when it comes to foods which remind me of my childhood, and of my Greek grandmother. I need these tangible reminders--we all do, I think. I need to roll up my sleeves some days and bake and cook myself back to my grandparents' old apartment; back to the days when the veranda doors were always open, and the smell of jasmine and hot sun blew in through the curtains; back to the days when a simple Sunday spaghetti dinner, and my grandmother's rice pudding for dessert, could make my day.
My grandmother's rice pudding was the best I've ever had: tender rice floating dreamily in the creamy pudding, with a dash of cinnamon dusted across the top and NO RAISINS (raisins, in my opinion just don't belong in rice pudding). She would serve it in her mint-green colored dessert bowls, the ones with the scalloped edges, and I would linger over each spoon—it was that good. I’ve been trying for years to find a recipe that would come close to replicating my grandmother’s dreamy pudding, but I’ve been unlucky. The pudding either comes out gloppy and sticky, or the rice ends up undercooked.
A few months ago I was telling a friend about my quest for the perfect rice pudding and she suggested I google “Arroz Doce”—a type of rice pudding well-known in Portugal. I found several recipes, but most of them contained beaten and RAW eggs. In the end I found one, adapted it slightly, and came up with creamy, delicious, soul-satisfying rice pudding.
Dreamy Rice Pudding
6 cups whole milk (note: I try to always cook with soy milk, but the first time I made this I used soy milk and the pudding just didn't come out creamy enough. It may be that whole milk is the way to go. I know my grandmother used it in her recipe).
1 1/4 cup of uncooked white rice
1 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Over high heat combine cinnamon stick, sugar, and milk. When bubble begin to form at the edges of the milk (it's about to boil), stir in rice and reduce heat.
Cook until rice is tender. How long this takes will depend on your rice. I used Trader Joe's white basmati rice and it cooked very quickly--in about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat, take out cinnamon stick, and pour into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve warm.
Eat outside if you can, preferably near a sweet-smelling flowering plant, if you have one. That, in my opinion, is the consummate rice-pudding experience.