Being a Yankee, I simply adore Indian Pudding. Many food historians and critics, alike, contend that Indian Pudding and Hasty Pudding are one and the same. This is untrue. Although Indian Pudding has its' roots in Hasty Pudding, the former has additions of ingredients and spices that transforms it to the latter.
Take a peak into the past:
Amelia Simmons, in her published cookbook from 1807, gives the following recipe:
"a nice indian pudding. 3 pints scalded milk...7 spoons fine indian meal. stir well together while hot, let stand till cooled; add 7 eggs, half pund raisins, 4 ounces butter, spice and sugar. Bake one and half hours."
Let me give you a Hasty Pudding recipe my grandmother, 3 times removed, had written down. I am so thankful my ancestors were such avid chroniclers. I have so many hundreds of recipes, journal entries, household cures and ways of doing things that my ancestors left for me since about 1790. Here is one dated about 1830-ish, by Charlotte BAiley, who mentions that her husbasnds "foke" gave it to her. Her husband was my ancestor, Josiah Bailey. Reprinted exactly as written.
"Haste pudding, mush, gap n swallo. Cook quickley cornmeal with same amount as milk. the doters calling it loblolly. when it is cold we slice it up with some good grease and fry some. naybers- the spragues -make it so thick you ken lift it all up with the spoon from the pot".
My grandfather, the first Yankee Chef, wrote that Flimdiddle was a baked main course "pudding" made of stale bread, molasses, spices, pork fat and whatever meat scraps you had laying around. this was all hashed together and baked.
I have the pleasure of having a friend who is the present chef at Durgin Park, a famous restaurant near Fannueil Hall in Boston. Melisha Phillips has been making the one pudding that has made Durgin Park famous(and vice-versa) throughout America, the true New England Indian Pudding. They make it without the sweetness that many contend is the reason it isn't more often enjoyed. After mixing everything all together, they bake it for over 2 hours in a "slow" oven and the result? Let's just say they hit the original recipe and, thereby, taste, on the money. Visit them on the web(in person is much better) at their original website at:
or their current site:
Durgin-Park is a centuries-old restaurant at 340 Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau states that it has been a "landmark since 1827", and it continues to be a popular tourist destination within Quincy Market. The restaurant has entrances on both of its facades (Faneuil Hall and Clinton Street).
In keeping with its long history, the concept of Durgin-Park maintains the tradition of communal seating at long tables. The menu is designed to offer traditional New England-style fare with a concentration on seafoods, chowders, broiled meats, and boiled dinners. The first restaurant at this former warehouse was opened in 1742, and was purchased in 1827 by John Durgin and Eldridge Park, becoming a Boston landmark.
By 1840, Durgin & Park took on John G. Chandler as a third partner. It was this trio that established the concepts of food and service that have remained essentially unchanged.
During the Reconstruction era—after the deaths of Durgin and Park—Chandler continued to run the operation and his family owned it until 1945, when it was sold to James Hallett, who ran the operation until 1977, enhancing the restaurant's national reputation.
The restaurant was purchased by the Kelley family in 1972, and sold by them to Ark Restaurants in January 2007.
In late summer of 2010, Durgin-Park opened up a beer garden in their basement bar. Called The Hideout, they have carved out a beer list that is atypical to the Faneuil Hall area.
Durgin Park's Famous Indian Pudding
3 c. milk
1/4 c. black molasses
2 T. sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. yellow corn meal
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 425 ° F. Mix together 1-1/2 c. of the milk with the molasses, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, egg, and cornmeal. Pour the mixture into a stone crock that has been well greased and bake until it boils. Heat the remaining 1-1/2 c. of milk and stir it in. Lower the oven temperature to 300 ° F and bake 5-7 hours. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
It is here that I would like to give you The Yankee Chef's recipe for Indian Pudding. I am truly a purist at heart when it comes to all things New England. Although I enjoy the taste of Durgin Park's recipe imeensely, I enjoy mine more. I have made it just a tad sweeter with a few additions and ideas. Enjoy the taste of Yankee-land.
4 c. milk
½ c. cornmeal
2 T.. butter or margarine
3/4 c. molasses
3/4 c. real maple syrup (preferably a light grade)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. ginger
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. raisins soaked in 1/2 c. hot apple juice for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter, or use nonstick cooking spray, a 2-quart casserole dish or a 6-cup muffin tin.. In a medium pot, add all ingredients at once(I am serious and trust me) and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat, whisking almost constantly. Cook for 5 minutes when it has reached simmer, turning heat to low. Remove from heat.
Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish or divide among the 6 cups in muffin tin, and bake about 1½ hours or 1 hour if baking in muffin tin, until center is set (the center will still be soft, but you don’t want it to look liquidy). Serve with your choice of dessert sauces listed below. You can also spoon any of the dessert listed below on top of the Indian Pudding before baking as well.
Here is a creation by The Yankee Chef, and I must say, it is simply fantastic tasting. Crunch of the batter surrounding the creamy, hot Indian Pudding within is only heightened by one of the sauces below to dip it into.
Indian Pudding Fritters
One recipe Indian Pudding, cooked and cooled overnight
Dessert sauce of your choice, recipes below
3 c. prepared pancake batter
1 qt. vegetable oil
1 large pot*
Fill your large pot with the vegetable oil. Heat to 350- degrees , checking the temperature with a candy thermometer.
Place prepared pancake batter in a bowl; set aside. Remove Indian Pudding from refrigerator and carefully, and thinly, remove top "skin" from the top. With a tablespoon or melonballer, scoop out about a heaping tablespoon of cold pudding and roll between your hands to form a ball. Place in the bowl of pancake batter and continue until you have 6 balls in the batter. Make 6 more balls and set them on a plate to coat in batter.
When oil is hot enough, and with 2 forks, roll each ball in batter to evenly and thickly coat. Gently lift out the Indian Pudding balls with two forks and lower into the hot oil, frying 6 "fritters" at a time. Cook for approximately 45-60 seconds, turning to make sure that all sides are browned. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate or tray. Upon lifting the last ball into oil, place the remainder of the balls into the batter and begin coating.
Repeat process with the last 6 fritters. Serve with your choice of sauce listed below, or visit my blog for more sauces that truly elevate this New England dessert to today's level.
* Or follow manufacturers instructions for deep frying in your deep fryer. heat at least 1 qt.oil to 350-degrees F.
Although not a dessert sauce you would find gracing our ancestors tables, this contemporary sweet sauce truly cuts through the molasses flavor with a tangy knife.
4 c. pomegranate juice
1/2 c. sugar*
1/4 c. lemon or lime juice
In a large, uncovered saucepan, heat pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice on medium until the sugar has dissolved and the juice is gently boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has a syrupy texture and reduced by at least half.
*If you want your pomegranate molasses to be sweeter, add more sugar to taste, while you are cooking it.
Pomegranate Baby Grape Sauce
Follow the same recipe for Pomegranate Molasses as above but add 1/2 c. small, very sweet and tasty baby grapes into the sauce. These baby grapes(or mini-grapes as they may be called) are found in your local supermarket.
Add 1 bag (about 12-16 oz.) fresh cranberries to pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Cook as directed.
Apple Cider Sauce
How about more New England flavor?(please-no emails about the next ingredient and its' association with Yankees) Add 1/2 c. dark rum.
1 qt. pure apple cider
Put cider, and rum if you are using, in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and gently boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and syrupy in texture. This may take anywhere from 12-25 minutes, depending on the strength of your stoves heating element. If you boil it down too much, remember a couple of things. If you decide you want the cider more thick, once removed from the stove, it will thicken even more. If you have left over syrup you want to use again, simply, and gently, heat it back up and it will thin out. Also, As you reduce the cider, stir more frequently so that it doesn't scorch or burn on the bottom.
1 c. orange juice
1 T. grated orange zest
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. butter or margarine
1/4 t. salt
Put together all the ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or till the quantity is reduced to half. Sieve through a strainer and pour into the serving bowl.
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/3 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 T. plus 1 t. molasses
1/2 t. rum extract
Place cream cheese in a bowl, and beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add yogurt, powdered sugar, molasses, and rum extract; beat until well-blended.
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. real maple syrup
2 T. butter or margarine
1/2 c. whipping cream
2 t. vanilla
Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cream and vanilla immediately. Cool; store in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1 1/2 c. of butterscotch sauce.
Apple Caramel Sauce
1 apple of your choice, peeled, cored and wedged into 1/2-inch segments
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 can(14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. butter or margarine
Mix the apples,sugar and condensed milk together in medium saucepan. Cook on low heat until apples are crisp tender but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes. Set the mixture aside. Melt the butter in another small saucepan, and stir in the vanilla and milk. Let the mixture simmer on low heat until mixture is smooth. about one to two minutes longer.
And don't forget that veritable French Creme Fraiche. Often overlooked, this less-sour version of sour cream has always been a delight when served with fre3sh fruit. The Yankee Chef offers that although we may be a tad stubborn when it comes to our food, we are not going to overlook an addition to our culinary heritage if it is complimentary. And I assure you, the Indian Pudding Fritters and Creme Fraiche do just that!
Sweet Indian Cake
This cake would be the perfect accompaniment to a cool, autumn night. Give it a try. Who knows, maybe you will bookmark this recipe for the Holidays.
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. raisins soaked in 1/4 c. hot apple juice for 30 minutes
6 T. butter or margarine
2 apples peeled, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ springform or bundt pan. In a bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs and molasses together, then add milk and vanilla. Combine raisins, and the soaking liquid, and 4 T. butter. Slowly add the dry ingredients. When blended, pour into prepared pan.
Arrange apples on top of the batter. In a saucepan, melt the remaining 2 T. butter. Pour over the apples, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. sugar.
Bake until the cake is puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the springform pan.
Authors and residents of New England alike were enamored with their desserts and sweet treats centuries ago. I think mostly because they didn't go out to the nearest store to splurge on candy and sweets much like we do today. The only food they ate was the food they made. So the desserts our forebears ate were, of course, delicious and enjoyed by everyone in the household. So much so that Joel Barlow dedicated a poem for:
THE HASTY PUDDING
A simplicity in diet, whether it be considered with reference to the happiness of individuals or the prosperity of a nation, is of more consequence than we are apt to imagine. In recommending so important an object to the rational part of mankind, I wish it were in my power to do it in such a manner as would be likely to gain their attention. I am sensible that it is one of those subjects in which example has infinitely more power than the most convincing arguments or the highest charms of poetry. Goldsmith's "Deserted Village," though possessing these two advantages in a greater degree than any other work of the kind, has not prevented villages in England from being deserted. The apparent interest of the rich individuals, who form the taste as well as the laws in that country, has been against him; and with that interest it has been vain to contend.
The vicious habits which, in this little piece, I endeavor to combat, seem to me not so difficult to cure. No class of people has any interest in supporting them, unless it be the interest which certain families may feel in vying with each other in sumptuous entertainments. There may, indeed, be some instances of depraved appetites, which no arguments will conquer; but these must be rare. There are very few persons but what would always prefer a plain dish for themselves, and would prefer it, likewise, for their guests, if there were no risk of reputation in the case. This difficulty can only be removed by example; and the example should proceed from those whose situation enables them to take the lead in forming the manners of a nation. Persons of this description in America, I should hope, are neither above nor below the influence of truth and reason, when conveyed in language suited to the subject.
Whether the manner I have chosen to address my arguments to them be such as to promise any success, is what I can not decide; but I certainly had hopes of doing some good, or I should not have taken the pains of putting so many rhymes together. The example of domestic virtues has doubtless a great effect. I only wish to rank SIMPLICITY OF DIET among the Virtues. In that case I should hope it will be cherished and more esteemed by others that it is at present.
Chambery, Savoy, January. 1793.
1 YE Alps audacious, through the heavens that rise,
To cramp the day and hide me from the skies;
Ye Gallic flags, that, o'er their heights unfurl'd,
Bear death to kings and freedom to the world,
5 I sing not to you. A softer theme I choose,
A virgin theme, unconscious of the muse,
But fruitful, rich, well suited to inspire
The purest frenzy of poetic fire.
Despise it not, ye bards to terror steel'd,
10 Who hurl your thunders round the epic field;
Nor ye who strain your midnight throats to sing
Joys that the vineyard and the still-house bring;
Or on some distant fair your notes employ,
And speak of raptures that you ne'er enjoy.
15 I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal—
The sweets of Hasty Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul.
The milk beside thee, smoking from the kine,
20 Its substance mingled, married in with thine,
Shall cool and temper thy superior heat,
And save the pains of blowing while I eat.
Oh! could the smooth, the emblematic song
Flow like they genial juices o'er my tongue,
25 Could those mild morsels in my numbers chime,
And, as they roll in substance, roll in rhyme,
No more thy awkward, unpoetic name
Should shun the muse of prejudice they fame;
But, rising grateful to the accustom'd ear,
30 All bards should catch it, and all realms revere!
Assist me first with pious toil to trace
Through wrecks of time thy lineage and thy race;
Declare what lovely squaw, in days of yore
(Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore),
35 First gave thee to the world; her works of fame
Have lived indeed, but lived without a name.
Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days,
First learn'd with stones to crack the well-dried maize,
Through the rough sieve to shake the golden shower,
40 In boiling water stir the yellow flour:
The yellow flour, bestrew'd and stirr'd with haste,
Swells in the flood and thickens to a paste,
Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim,
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim;
45 The knobs at last the busy ladle breaks,
And the whole mass its true consistence takes.
Could but her sacred name, unknown so long,
Rise, like her labors, to the son of song,
To her, to them I'd consecrate my lays,
50 And blow her pudding with the breath of praise.
If 'twas Oella, whom I sang before,
I here ascribe her one great virtue more.
Not through the rich Peruvian realms alone
The fame of Sol's sweet daughter should be known,
55 But o'er the world's wide clime should life secure,
Far as his rays extend, as long as they endure.
Dear Hasty Pudding, what unpromised joy
Expands my heart, to meet thee in Savoy!
Doom'd o'er the world through devious paths to roam,
60 Each clime my country, and each house my home,
My soul is soothed, my cares have found an end:
I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend.
For thee through Paris, that corrupted town,
How long in vain I wander'd up and down,
65 Where shameless Bacchus, with his drenching hoard,
Cold from his cave usurps the morning board.
London is lost in smoke and steep'd in tea;
No Yankee there can lisp the name of thee;
The uncouth word, a libel on the town,
70 Would call a proclamation from the crown.
For climes oblique, that fear the sun's full rays,
Chill'd in their fogs, exclude the generous maize:
A grain whose rich, luxuriant growth requires
Short, gentle showers, and bright, ethereal fires.
75 But here, though distant from our native shore,
With mutual glee, we meet and laugh once more.
The same! I know thee by that yellow face,
That strong complexion of true Indian race,
Which time can never change, nor soil impair,
80 Nor Alpine snows, nor Turkey's morbid air;
For endless years, through every mild domain,
Where grows the maize, there thou art sure to reign.
But man, more fickle, the bold license claims,
In different realms to give thee different names.
85 Thee the soft nations round the warm Levant
Polanta call; the French, of course, Polante.
E'en in they native regions, how I blush
To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee Mush!
On Hudson's banks, while, men of Belgic spawn
90 Insult and eat thee by the name Suppawn.
All spurious appellations, void of truth;
I've better known thee from my earliest youth;
Thy name is Hasty Pudding! thus our sires
Were wont to greet thee fuming, from their fires;
95 And while they argued in thy just defense
With logic clear, they thus explained the sense:
"In haste the boiling cauldron, o'er the blaze,
Receives and cooks the ready powder'd maize;
In haste 'tis served, and then in equal haste
100 With cooling milk, we make the sweet repast.
No carving to be done, no knife to grate
The tender ear and wound the stony plate;
But the smooth spoon, just fitted to the lip,
And taught with art the yielding mass to dip,
105 By frequent journeys to the bowl well stored,
Performs the hasty honors of the board."
Such is thy name, significant and clear,
A name, a sound to every Yankee dear,
But most to me, whose heart and palate chaste
110 Preserve my pure, hereditary taste.
There are who strive to stamp with disrepute
The luscious food, because it feeds the brute;
In tropes of high-strain'd wit, while gaudy prigs
Compare thy nursling man to pamper'd pigs;
115 With sovereign scorn I treat the vulgar jest,
Nor fear to share thy bounties with the beast.
What though the generous cow gives me to quaff
The milk nutritious; am I then a calf?
Or can the genius of the noisy swine,
120 Though nursed on pudding, thence lay claim on mine?
Sure the sweet song I fashion to thy praise,
Runs more melodious than the notes they raise.
My song, resounding in its grateful glee,
No merit claims; I praise myself in thee.
125 My father loved thee through his length of days!
For thee his fields were shaded o'er with maize;
From thee what health, what vigor he possess'd,
Ten sturdy freemen from his loins attest;
Thy constellation ruled my natal morn,
130 And all my bones were made of Indian corn.
Delicious grain! whatever from it take,
To roast or boil, to smother or to bake,
In every dish 'tis welcome still to me,
But most, my Hasty Pudding, most in thee.
135 Let the green succotash with thee contend;
Let beans and corn their sweetest juices blend;
Let butter drench them in its yellow tide,
And a long slice of bacon grace their side;
Not all the plate, how famed so'er it be,
140 Can please my palate like a bowl of thee.
Some talk of Hoe-Cake, fair Virginia's pride!
Rich Johnny-Cake this mouth hath often tried;
Both please me well, their virtues much the same.
Alike their fabric, as allied their fame,
145 Except in dear New England, where the last
Receives a dish of pumpkin in the paste,
To give it sweetness and improve the taste.
But place them all before me, smoking hot,
The big, round dumpling, rolling from the pot;
150 The pudding of the bag, whose quivering breast
With suet lined, leads on the Yankee feast;
The Charlotte brown, within whose crusty sides
A belly soft the pulpy apple hides;
The yellow bread, whose face like amber glows,
155 And all of Indian that the bakepan knows—
You tempt me no; my favorite greets my eyes,
To that loved bowl my spoon by instinct flies.
THE HASTY PUDDING
158 To mix the food by vicious rules of art,
To kill the stomach and to sink the heart,
160 To make mankind to social virtue sour,
Cram o'er each dish, and be what they devour;
For this the kitchen muse first framed her book,
Commanding sweat to steam from every cook;
Children no more their antic gambols tried,
165 And friends of physic wonder'd why they died.
Not so the Yankee: his abundant feast,
With simples furnish'd and with plainness dress'd,
A numerous offspring gathers round the board,
And cheers alike the servant and the lord;
170 Whose well-bought hunger prompts the joyous taste,
And health attends them from the short repast.
While the full pail rewards the milk-maid's toil,
The mother sees the morning cauldron boil;
To stir the pudding next demands their care;
175 To spread the table and the bowls prepare:
To feed the children as their portions cool,
And comb their heads, and send them off to school.
Yet may the simplest dish some rules impart,
For Nature scorns not all the aids of art.
180 E'en Hasty Pudding, purest of all food,
May still be bad, indifferent, or good,
As sage experience the short process guides,
Or want of skill, or want of care presides.
Whoe'er would form it on the surest plan,
185 To rear the child and long sustain the man;
To shield the morals while it mends the size,
And all the powers of every food supplies—
Attend the lesson that the muse shall bring;
Suspend your spoons, and listen while I sing.
190 But since, O man! thy life and health demand
Not food alone, but labor from thy hand,
First, in the field, beneath the sun's strong rays,
Ask of thy mother earth the needful maize;
She loves the race that courts her yielding soil,
195 And gives her bounties to the sons of toil.
When now the ox, obedient to thy call,
Repays the loan that fill'd the winter stall,
Pursue his traces o'er the furrow'd plain,
And plant in measured hills the golden grain.
200 But when the tender germ begins to shoot,
And the green spire declares the sprouting root,
Then guard your nursling from each greedy foe,
The insidious worm, the all-devouring crow.
A little ashes sprinkled round the spire,
205 Soon steep'd in rain, will bid the worm retire;
The feather'd robber, with his hungry maw,
Swift flies the field before your man of straw;
A frightful image, such as schoolboys bring,
When met to burn the pope or hang the king.
210 Thrice in the season, through each verdant row,
Wield the strong plow-share and the faithful hoe;
The faithful hoe, a double task that takes,
To till the summer corn and roast the winter cakes.
Slow springs the blade, while check'd by chilling rains,
215 'Ere yet the sun the seat of Cancer gains;
But when his fiercest fires emblaze the land,
Then start the juices, then the roots expand;
Then, like a column of Corinthian mould,
The stalk struts upward and the leaves unfold;
220 The bushy branches all the ridges fill,
Entwine their arms, and kiss from hill to hill.
Here cease to vex them; all your cares are done
Leave the last labors to the parent sun;
Beneath his genial smiles, the well-dress'd field,
225 When autumn calls, a plenteous crop shall yield.
Now the strong foliage bears the standards high,
And shoots the tall top-gallants to the sky;
The suckling ears the silken fringes bend,
And, pregnant grown, their swelling coats distend;
230 The loaded stalk, while still the burden grows,
O'erhangs the space that runs between the rows;
High as a hop-field waves the silent grove,
A safe retreat for little thefts of love,
When the pledged roasting-ears invite the maid,
235 To meet her swain beneath the new-form'd shade:
His generous hand unloads the cumbrous hill,
And the green spoils her ready basket fill;
Small compensation for the two-fold bliss,
The promised wedding, and the present kiss.
240 Slight depredations these; but now the moon
Calls from his hollow tree the sly raccoon;
And while by night he bears his prize away,
The bolder squirrel labors through the day.
Both thieves alike, but provident of time,
245 A virtue rare, that almost hides their crime.
Then let them steal the little stores they can,
And fill their granaries from toils of man;
We've one advantage where they take no part—
With all their wiles, they ne'er have found the art
250 To boil the Hasty Pudding; here we shine
Superior far to tenants of the pine;
This envied boon to man shall still belong,
Unshared by them in substance or in song.
At last the closing season browns the plain,
255 And ripe October gathers in the grain;
Deep-loaded carts the spacious corn-house fill;
The sack distended marches to the mill;
The laboring mill beneath the burden groans,
And showers the future pudding from the stones;
260 Till the glad housewife greets the powder'd gold,
And the new crop exterminates the old.
THE HASTY PUDDING
262 The days grow short; but though the fallen sun
To the glad swain proclaims his day's work done;
Night's pleasant shades his various tasks prolong,
265 And yield new subjects to my various song.
For now, the corn-house fill'd, the harvest home,
The invited neighbors to the husking come;
A frolic scene, where work, and mirth, and play,
Unite their charms to chase the hours away.
270 Where the huge heap lies center'd in the hall,
The lamp suspended from the cheerful wall,
Brown, corn-fed nymphs, and strong, hard-handed beaux,
Alternate ranged, extend in circling rows,
Assume their seats, the solid mass attack;
275 The dry husks rustle, and the corn-cobs crack;
The song, the laugh, alternate notes resound,
And the sweet cider trips in silence round.
The laws of husking every wight can tell,
And sure no laws he ever keeps so well:
280 For each red ear a general kiss he gains,
With each smut ear he smuts the luckless swains;
But when to some sweet maid a prize is cast,
Red as her lips and taper as her waist,
She walks the round and culls one favor'd beau,
285 Who leaps the luscious tribute to bestow.
Various the sports, as are the wits and brains
Of well-pleased lasses and contending swains;
Till the vast mound of corn is swept away,
And he that gets the last ear wins the day.
290 Meanwhile, the housewife urges all her care,
The well-earn'd feast to hasten and prepare.
The sifted meal already waits her hand,
The milk is strain'd, the bowls in order stand,
The fire flames high; and as a pool (that takes
295 The headlong stream that o'er the milldam breaks)
Foams, roars, and rages with incessant toils,
So the vex'd cauldron rages, roars, and boils.
First with clean salt she seasons well the food,
Then strews the flour, and thickens all the flood.
300 Long o'er the simmering fire she lets it stand;
To stir it well demands a stronger hand;
The husband takes his turn: and round and round
The ladle flies; at last the toil is crown'd;
When to the board the thronging huskers pour,
305 And take their seats as at the corn before.
I leave them to their feast. There still belong
More copious matters to my faithful song.
For rules there are, though ne'er unfolded yet,
Nice rules and wise, how pudding should be ate.
310 Some with molasses line the luscious treat,
And mix, like bards, the useful with the sweet.
A wholesome dish, and well deserving praise;
A great resource in those bleak wintry days,
When the chill'd earth lies buried deep in snow,
315 And raging Boreas dries the shivering cow.
Bless'd cow! thy praise shall still my notes employ,
Great source of health, the only source of joy;
Mother of Egypt's god&151;but sure, for me,
Were I to leave my God, I'd worship thee.
320 How oft thy teats these pious hands have press'd!
How oft thy bounties proved my only feast!
How oft I've fed thee with my favorite grain!
And roar'd, like thee, to find thy children slain!
Ye, swains who know her various worth to prize,
325 Ah! house her well from winter's angry skies!
Potatoes, pumpkins should her sadness cheer,
Corn from your crib, and mashes from your beer;
When spring returns, she'll well acquit the loan,
And nurse at once your infants and her own.
330 Milk, then, with pudding I would always choose;
To this in future I confine my muse,
Till she in haste some further hints unfold,
Well for the young, nor useless to the old.
First in your bowl the milk abundant take,
335 Then drop with care along the silver lake
Your flakes of pudding; these at first will hide
Their little bulk beneath the swelling tide;
But when their growing mass no more can sink,
Then the soft island looms above the brink,
340 Then check your hand; you've got the portion due:
So taught our sires, and what they taught is true.
There is a choice in spoons. Though small appear
The nice distinction, yet to me 'tis clear.
The deep-bowl'd Gallic spoon, contrived to scoop
345 In ample draughts the thin, diluted soup,
Performs not well in those substantial things,
Whose mass adhesive to the metal clings;
Where the strong labial muscles must embrace
With ease to enter and discharge the freight,
350 A bowl less concave, but still more dilate,
Becomes the pudding best. The shape, the size,
A secret rests, unknown to vulgar eyes.
Experienced feeders can alone impart
A rule so much above the lore of Art.
355 These tuneful lips, that thousand spoons have tried,
With just precision could the point decide,
Though not in song; the muse but poorly shines
In cones, and cubes, and geometric lines;
Yet the true form, as near as she can tell,
360 Is that small section of a goose-egg shell,
Which in two equal portions shall divide
The distance from the center to the side.
Fear not to slaver; 'tis no deadly sin:
Like the free Frenchman, from your joyous chin
365 Suspend your ready napkin; or like me,
Poise with one hand your bowl upon your knee;
Just in the zenith your wise head project;
Your full spoon, rising in a line direct,
Bold as a bucket, heed no drops that fall—
370 The wide-mouth'd bowl will surely catch them all!