Butter and Rest: the Sickie Edition

Insert that thing about best laid plans. I had such gorgeous cranberry plans for this feature, but alas, I am the besickened caretaker of the house of plague and thus, there is only appropriate offering this weeked:

Cardamom Rice Pudding.

This is quintessential comfort food and has the added benefit of making your house smell graciously of vanilla and joy (die, sickie smell, die!!). It is a slow-cooking marvel of simplicity. If you are not down and out sick, good on you, stop rubbing it in, and this could be made in advance by healthy people and easily reheated for Sabbath breakfast, or served cold with a blop of jam on top, or with orange slices. I am writing this from memory — that is how much we love this, and also why the measurements are a bit… theoretical.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot (why do recipes always say that? Do you have a lot of flimsy gigantic pots? Well, if you do, don’t use that one) combine 5 1/2 cups whole milk (anything worth doing is worth doing full-fat) and a cinnamon stick. Don’t boil it, but heat it to that simmering point where the milk is threatening to scorch the bottom but hasn’t actually pulled the trigger. From there, negotiate with the terrorist and turn down the heat and pour in 1 1/2 cups of white rice (I like using Arborio because the texture pleases me. You do you, boo) and a solid splash of vanilla (teaspoon? Tablespoon? I can’t know. But to my knowledge, no one ever died from having too much vanilla in their rice pudding).

Cook this on a pretty low heat, stir-stir-stir, for a goodish amount of time, could be 45 minutes. Should I mention that wandering away to prune your begonias or master a French tip nail is ill-advised at this juncture? Once upon a time, I owned a pretty red pot, a fancy Le Creuset, and I completely destroyed the heavy bottomed beauty by neglect of stirring during a rice pudding venture.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. You have been warned.

When it starts to look a bit like milky risotto, thick but still soupy, pour in 1/2 cup sugar and maybe a tablespoon of ground cardamom (the original recipe calls for actual cardamom pods that you grind with a mortar and pestle. Want to know what you get? Yeah. Ground cardamom. Save your muscle for your nails). Stir, cook another 15 minutes or so.

If you can stand to let it cool a tiny bit, it will reach perfection. Some people stir in things like nuts and raisins. If you are those people, I won’t judge. I also won’t watch. It simply does not need it. This gentle, smooth and creamy concoction is ideal for sore throats and bruised spirits, and that is why it also befits your Sabbath breakfast — the Lord does not break you when you are bruised. He has won your rest, and every Lord’s Day, He invites you a taste of the eternal. There is rest for you, body and soul. No matter what part of you is feeling bruised as you read this, there is comfort and rest awaiting you. Eat up.

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