Cream tapioca pudding is what most of us today would call… tapioca pudding. You know, in a milk custard sauce. Why Sue makes Cream Tapioca Pudding instead of regular ordinary tapioca pudding, I have no idea.
Anyway, in Lesson 15, dated Saturday March 3, Sue and Ruth Ann begin to make less heavy, winter foods. Tapioca pudding is nice for a cold early spring. Usually served chilled, it’s a heavy pudding, unlike the sherbets and ice creams that appear later in the year. And traditionally tapioca pudding ranks as a favorite in homes that have children.
If you are seeing this series for the first time, we are working our way through the 1924 cookbook When Sue Began to Cook. It’s part of the Bettina’s Best Recipes series of books from the Twenties, and it takes the form of an instruction book framed within a story. Sue and her best friend Ruth Ann are spending their Saturday mornings learning to cook under the watchful eye of Sue’s mother Bettina, ace cook and house manager. If you want to start at the beginning, clicking the book title link will take you back to Lesson 1 so you can follow their progress and learn their story.
Each week’s lesson includes a new recipe. The recipes usually contain a new cooking technique. In addition, Sue keeps a lesson notebook which tells the tale of Ruth Ann’s ill mother and various other happenings.
Sue’s notes on Cream Tapioca Pudding
It seemed to take us a good while to finish our work this morning, and when Ruth Ann came over for the cooking lesson we weren’t quite ready, Mother and I. And Robin was rushing around doing his own work and grumbling because Teddy was waiting for him and he couldn’t go till he had brought up the wood for the fireplace and had fed Caesar [the family cat] and had put his own room in order.
Robin makes me tired. I had dried the breakfast dishes for Mother (I always do on Saturday) and had straightened up my own room and had dusted the living room and watered the plants and I was just cleaning the bird cage when Ruth Ann came, but I wasn’t grumbling. I have a good deal to do, it seems to me, but I don’t scold about it. That is, not very often.
“Oh, Robin,” I heard Ruth Ann say. “I wish I’d come earlier! Why, I could have straightened up your room for you. I just love to make beds and dust and hang up clothes.”
I could hardly believe my ears. Really, I don’t mind doing these things, but I can’t say I care to do them for the neighbors!
“Don’t you take care of your own room at your grandmother’s?” Mother asked. (Mother was making salad dressing. She usually does on Saturdays.)
“No, because Grandmother prefers to have Selma do it. It keeps her busy. And Selma thinks I don’t do things right.”
“Hurray!” cried Robin. “You should worry about that? So much more time to play!”
“But it isn’t any fun not belonging to a real family and not having things you just have to do every day,” Ruth Ann said. “I don’t feel real at Grandmother’s. When Mother comes home, I intend to do all the work. Every bit!”
“All work and no play would make Ruth Ann a dull girl,” laughed Mother. “But I agree with you, Ruth Ann, that all play and no work is worse yet. Well, at least you’re learning to cook and wash dishes, and by the time your Mother comes home you’ll know all about running the kitchen at least. And just wait until Spring comes! Then we’ll each have a little garden to tend.”
“Me too, Aunt Bettina?”
“Yes, indeed. Right here in this very back yard beside Sue’s. And just wait till you girls learn to go to market and keep accounts and do other things besides cooking! But the cooking must come first. Well, are you all ready to begin on Cream Tapioca Pudding?”
We were, and it was an easy lesson. But all the time I kept thinking of what Ruth Ann had said about work, and real families. I’m glad my family is real, even if I do have lots of things to do every day.
Recipe for Cream Tapioca Pudding
This tapioca pudding recipe adds apples to it for a bit of added texture, taste, and nutrition.
Cream Tapioca Pudding
- ½ cup prepared tapioca also known as tapioca pearls
- 3 cups milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp lemon extract
- 2 cups peeled cored sliced apples
- This pudding had to be cooked in the double boiler. Mother had us put the tapioca, milk, and salt all together in the top utensil (pan) and cook it for twenty five minutes. (Of course we had the bottom part half full of boiling water. We always watch it, too, to see that it doesn't boil dry.)
- We gave the cooking tapioca a stir every once in a while to keep it an even thicknes all through. While it was cooking we broke the two eggs in a bowl and beat them up with the Dover egg beater. Then we added the sugar to the eggs and beat them for a few minutes longer. Next (while the tapioca was still cookng) Mother had us wash, quarter, peel, and slice our apples. We each used a little sharp vegetable knife and it didn't take any time at all.
- After the tapioca had cooked a good twenty five minutes by the clock, we added the eggs and sugar and cooked it for three minutes longer, stirring all the time. Then we added the vanilla and lemon extract and the sliced apples, and poured the pudding into a pretty china serving dish.
- Mother had us set our puddings out on top of the icebox to get cold. (We don't take ice in winter. The icebox is in a little outside room that isn't heated.) We saved my pudding for dinner and had it with cream and sugar. Ruth Ann carried hers home.