The settling of the United States is replete with reports of heroism, hardships and heartbreaks. Life was tough, and the heritage toughness builds permeates our culture today. However, although, herculean in their commitment, they were human and sometimes missed their homeland and the mores left behind. They tried to recreate some of those customs with materials at their disposal.
A method of restoring memories is through taste buds. The phrase, “like grandma used to make,” makes your mouth water, when you remember the days you enjoyed grandma’s special treats. Indian pudding falls in that category.
Indian pudding was ideal for the robust lifestyle the Colonists led. The article, “What is Indian Pudding,” said it provided protein and calcium, along with various minerals such as copper, calcium and iron. It was a source of energy, and stuck to their ribs.
Indian pudding replaced a favorite British hasty pudding that used wheat flour, or oatmeal, mixed with boiling milk. The Colonists had no access to wheat flour, but the Native Americans introduced them to cornmeal as a substitute, and hasty pudding became Indian pudding. In fact, Native Americans already made a similar pudding from boiled cornmeal they called supawn.
Indian pudding was a rich dessert that used molasses for a sweetener. If available, preparers added spices like cinnamon and ginger, and eggs or butter. They cooked the mixture slowly, and baked it until firm. Indian pudding tasted best when eaten warm, topped with either ice cream, whipped cream, a cider sauce or thick cream. Indian pudding was sometimes even sliced, and eaten cold for breakfast because of the energy provided.
The British were not the only forerunners of Indian pudding. The Italian version was “Polenta,” and to the Romanians it was Mamaliga, according to “Hasty Pudding.”
Even though Indian pudding is a favorite throughout the United States, its roots remain in the colonial states, especially New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. It is a popular Thanksgiving treat because its aroma saturates a home, along with not being expensive, nor a chore to fix.
A verse in the popular Colonists song, Yankee Doodle, went:
“Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Goodin,
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty puddin.”
Wise Geek: What is Indian Pudding: wisegeek.com
Wikipedia: Hasty Pudding: wikipedia.org