My Mother’s kitchen is always full
by Nathan Holman
Marge Holman is my mother and I remember my mother’s kitchen in many ways. I remember it was always full, whether with friends, family, or clothes on laundry day from her 11 children.
Whenever someone came by, this is where we would meet ‘till the coffee or cocoa was done. Her kitchen made it a perfect place for us to roller skate when it was too cold outside or where we would bring our puppies – at one time 30 of them – in to play. (We did not have this many all the time.)
Come fall, the kitchen was filled with the smell of summer’s harvest, be it from canning food from the garden, or from the smell of wet chicken feathers from the slaughter of young roosters that weekend.
In the mornings, you could warm yourself by the stove while biscuits baked in the oven. Fresh cow’s milk, still warm from its donor, sat on the counter waiting to be served with breakfast. Farm fresh eggs were always a blessing to have.
It also seemed to be the place where siblings began or finished disagreements.
As the years passed, each of the kids grew up and moved away and mom’s kitchen seemed to get smaller. Not just because we moved to smaller houses, but less needed to be done in the kitchen. Times got faster and money shorter but the one thing that still remains in her kitchen is love. To this day, when we visit her, we can still feel the love that is there.
As a child growing up with this love, I had many favorite meals. There was pot roast Sunday or pork chop Friday with corn on the cob and real mashed potatoes. Spaghetti was never too far off the menu. I even long for liver and onions, which I did not like as a child. Desserts were always a treat, from pumpkin pie, and cookies, to cake or rice pudding. We may have not had much but we did have much love.
I think my favorite of all is still the hot rice pudding. The recipe is simple. This serves 2-3 unlike her recipe that served 11-15.
Rice Pudding Recipe
• 2 1/2 cups whole milk
• 1/3 cup uncooked long or short grain white rice
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/3 cup or more raisins
• 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk, rice and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar until well mixed. Add a half cup of the rice mixture – a tablespoon at a time – beating to incorporate.
Add egg mixture back into the saucepan of rice and milk and stir, on low heat, for 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Be careful not to have the mixture come to a boil at this point. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and cinnamon.
Serve warm or cold.