Chocolate Walnut Bread Pudding and Random, Random Thoughts

by Kelly on February 28, 2011

Maybe it’s my introspective nature.  Maybe it’s the fact I’m good blogger.  Or perhaps (most likely) it is some combination of the two.  But the fact of the matter is I spend a lot of time thinking about food – about the role it plays in my life, my likes and dislikes, and especially lately, the interplay between my broader life outside the kitchen and the foods I like to make.

Yes, somewhere between the grocery store and my kitchen I recently noticed a particular pattern in my cooking, one that seems to play out reliably over time.  You see, there appears to be an inverse relationship between the amount of challenge going on in my general life and the amount I seek out in my kitchen.

Find me when my day job is slow or life seems too easy, and I’ll be all about crazy feats in the kitchen, the more bold, absurd, or daring the better.  It’s like I need the mental and gastronomic challenge to remind myself that I’m alive and that there is always more that can be done to learn and grow.

But if you find me when I’m feeling my day to day life, quite honestly, sucks, I’m exactly the opposite.  I gravitate toward easy, comforting foods I cannot screw up.  (Because nothing is more tear-enducing for me than burning something when you’ve already had a completely awful day.)  I even follow recipes. I like safe, familiar flavors that feel a bit like curling up in your childhood bed.

That’s where I’ve been at lately.  Between making the decision to abandon the beginnings of a new romantic relationship and losing what I thought was my dream condo through failed negotiations over price, I was feeling pretty down, to put it mildly.  I knew it was certainly NOT the worst adversity I or others had ever been faced with, but that still didn’t mean I was capable of dealing with it all and feeling cheery all the while.

And so I turned to a recipe I knew could help me get through it – chocolate bread pudding.

breadpudding

I love bread pudding.  Any recipe that makes use of old stale bread and turns it into something delightful and wonderful is generally a pretty forgiving recipe in my opinion.  And this one was perfect for my current needs – no exotic ingredients, no tricky steps, just one ticket to absurdly indulgent, chocolatey perfection.  Followed to the “T” it was absolutely luscious, but I can imagine it would be even better were the bread given more time to soak up all the rich custard or if I had used some intense fine chocolate instead of standard Hershey’s chocolate chips.  But if you want to follow it to a “T,” like I did.  I think you’ll find the results are pretty delightful too.  I’m not going to repost the recipe here since I cannot say I made a single contribution to the recipe, but I think it is well worth checking out here.

What about you?  Do the day to day events effect what you like to make?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bethany March 1, 2011 at 8:43 am

Yuck, I’m so sorry — I knew something was up from your facebook statuses (wow, we could also have a real conversation one of these days and my comments wouldn’t be so lame…). Sorry for the rough week — you don’t have to minimize what you’re dealing with, that’s a lot at one time!

I was just thinking about this the other day, actually — that when I have extra capacity (time-wise or even emotionally/intellectually), my blog gets like REALLY exciting and creative. When I’m up to the brim in what I can handle, it slows down and gets a little more predictable.

What I’ve found, though, is that no one but me seems to really notice the difference — people like the “comforting” posts just as much as the really exciting culinary gymnastics :) And that’s definitely true of this post… who doesn’t love bread pudding?? Especially chocolate… :)

Hope this week is better!

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5 Star Foodie March 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

I’m so sorry that you are feeling down, sounds like you are dealing with a lot of stuff :( Hope you feel more cheerful soon, that chocolate bread pudding is definitely the way to go!

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brandi March 1, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’m the same way! It’s funny how we do those things without realizing it at first.

I hope things calm down some, but until then, having bread pudding around is never a bad thing :)

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The Duo Dishes March 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

Chocolate and challenge can up your spirits for sure. Hopefully you’re feeling a little better, even by just having written this down and shared with everyone. It’s true that we act out in places where we’re missing something, but you have to bring the balance back. You’ll find the way that works for you. In the meantime, hopefully cooking will give you a little spark.

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Kelly March 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

Bethany – I know. My Facebook statuses have definitely been uber gloomy lately. I’m generally not the kind of person to put these things out on facebook or even my blog for that matter but I have to admit in some weird sort of way that writing sad statuses was a nice kind of therapy. I agree with everything in your post. It’s weird because I have a very sweet co-worker who reads my blog. We were talking about it one day and she told me what her favorite post was – it was unexpectedly a post that was a bit dreary. It shows me that there is no shame in being human on the blog and admitting that things aren’t always rainbows and butterflies.

5 Star Foodie – Thank you. I agree, chocolate, especially chocolate bread pudding, makes everything better.

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Shannon March 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

i was wondering if something was up as I hadn’t heard from you lately! *hugs* this sounds like the dish to make everything better, although i’d probably finish it in too few servings ;) I don’t know if i fall into exactly the same pattern… I feel like sometimes all i have is my kitchen [it's not really, just that kind of feeling sometimes], so I go a little crazy or spend more time in there to make me feel better!

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sippitysup March 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I have been feeling a bit introspective too lately. Dies that mean I can have some chocolate bread pudding? GREG

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mitzi March 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm

i so understand your thoughts – when i’m feeling down i
always make something i know will turn out, without fail. hope you
feel better, especially after this yummy looking bread
pudding!

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Cara March 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Sorry to hear things have been a little rough lately – but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Hopefully better things (and more chocolate!) are right around the corner!

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Charissa - The Gifted Blog March 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I just read this from your comment: “It shows me that there is no shame in being human on the blog and admitting that things aren’t always rainbows and butterflies.” Totally something I can learn from. Thanks for your honesty in this post. Chin up!

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Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess March 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm

So true! I think it’s totally in our nature to seek balance, and you do it in the kitchen. When we’re not buried in home renovation dust, I do it in the kitchen too. :-)

That bread pudding recipe looks heavenly. Thank you for the recommendation!

xoxo,
tanja

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Carolyn Jung March 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Chocolate is miraculous in that it makes all things better. I know that I — and all my female friends — reach for it first when we’re stressed, sad, angry or happy. Heck, I guess we reach for it first ALL the time then. ;)
I hope things get easier. Sounds like you had a rough spell. But for every downturn, there’s always an uptick. It’ll happen soon. Keep the faith.

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Kelly March 12, 2011 at 1:48 am

Carolyn – I agree, chocolate does make everything better. I sometimes feel guilty saying that because we live in such a weight conscious world that I feel like food as any sort of solstice is frowned upon, but for me it really does help and is certainly less addictive and destructive than other ways I could be coping.

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Susan March 9, 2011 at 7:38 am

Sorry you’ve recently gone through a bum patch lately. Many of us have private lives that can distract and exhaust (me included). As much as I love my kitchen, I don’t much fuss with meals when I’m stressed – and that means no blogging, too. (I don’t think a bowl of buttered noodles, my go-to comfort food, warrants a post.) I would, however, feel very well coddled with being served your wonderful bread pudding. It reminds me of an EZ babka. Thanks for sharing.

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Kelly March 12, 2011 at 1:47 am

Susan – Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I know it’s hard how sometimes our private lives affect our blogging. Sometimes I love the ability to be able to express my words and have so many thoughtful blogopshere friends come and offer words of support and encouragement, other times life seems to zap any energy and creativity I might have.

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RebeccaC March 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Reading this whilst pregnant and waiting for dinner was a terrible idea. Can absolutely relate to this tho… As we’ve been going through the challenge of unpacking our new house I can’t find the energy for difficult meals.

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Kelly March 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Rebecca – I know! Any talk of dessert or chocolate always makes me hungry. It’s why I know better than to read food blogs before lunch. :-)

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