Bread Pudding: the Best Way To Recycle

In our little community, in our little part of the southwest corner of Mississippi, there is voluntary recycling. Which really means sorting the trash is a pain. There is a collection spot in town and you’re expected to catorgorize your refuse and then take it for deposit. I must admit that I am a bit passive aggressive and conviently do not remember to peel off the lable from the orange juice container, rinse it and dry it, blah, blahblah, blah, blah.

My mother heard a lady in local government give a talk to her church group about the importance of recycling and saving the planet, and the salamanders on the Natchez Trace, and the baby seals in Alaska, and keeping tar balls out of the Gulf of Mexico and on and on and on. Mom has become an advocate of recycling. Somehow, if Mom seperates her trash while living in a tiny little town with a population of less than 4000, trees in the Amazon will be saved.

“Oh, did I throw that cereal box away? Nope, I can’t fish it out of the abyss of the trash can. There it will stay until the guys with the big truck circle the neighborhood on Wednesday morning.”

I told you- I am a bit passive aggressive.  I refuse to gift wrap the refuse. Sorry, Mom. Sorry to any tree huggers reading this, too. Take your peecan to the woods and count the pecan trees. Come on, smile. You take things too seriously.

It really hasn’t been that long ago out in the country (where I lived for 29 years) that weekly trash pickup became the norm. You seperated your tin cans from all other garbage and dumped them into a big hole dug on the back of your property.(I do believe I heard all you environmentalists gasping with your appalled sensibilities.) Read on about rural life. Paper, plastic and cardboard all went into a 50 gallon drum to be burned. Dirty disposable diapers were burned too. Eweee! (Now, you know if I won’t rinse a used orange juice container I was not going to rinse out a used cloth diaper!) If the weather was wet or windy, the trash stacked up in a storage room till it became more trash burning friendly. Ah, life in the country.

More than once trash fires caused raging forest fires. Our neighbors burned up acres of pine trees on my ex-husband’s parents’ land, and they didn’t learn their lesson till my now dearly departed father-in-law went and had a set to with them. I believe he gifted them with a trash barrell of their very own. A few years after that incident, I was called for jury duty and one of the lawyers asked if anyone had ever had property damage due to another’s  negligence. I raised my hand and explained what had happened with The Trash Fire That Had Gotten Away and  potential juror #12  (I) was excused.

Segway-

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The only way or thing I don’t mind recycling is stale bread into a family fave: Bread pudding. My grandmother made this with her week old bread and the smell of butter, egg, sugar and cinnamon filled the whole house. For this mornings breakfast, I used stale hamburger buns to make my grandmother’s recipe. It is the best kind of recycling.

Ingredients:

8 hamburger buns, but any week old bread ( free of mold) can be used

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 stick butter

Cinnamon

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Tear the buns into bite sized pieces and scatter evenly into a casserole  dish. Melt butter and pour evenly over the torn pieces of buns. Sprinkle with cinnamon, little or a lot, it’s your choice. In a one quart pot, pour in milk and bring to just about boiling, turn fire off, add sugar, vanilla and stir till sugar disolves.

Crack eggs in a small bowl and whisk till light yellow. Temper the eggs by pouring a little the hot milk mixture into the eggs and whisking together. Pouring the eggs directly into the milk would cook the eggs. You don’t want that. So temper the eggs first, before pouring them all into the hot milk. Then pour combined mixture over the buttery cinnamon bread pieces.

Place in the middle of your preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes. The pudding will puff up while baking and the top gets crusty, thanks to the butter and sugar. Test to see if the pudding  is through baking by inserting a clean knife in the center. If the knife comes out clean, remove from the oven. If it doesn’t come out clean, bake a few more minutes.

Serve warm right out of the oven with coffee. A sprinkling of powdered sugar is nice. Go ahead; gild that lily.

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The butter and sugar make the top of the bread pudding divinely crusty. Ooh yum!

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