I know I’m always hating on my mom’s food, but I just can’t help it. Every time I eat something delicious that I distinctly remember being bland, slimey, lumpy, or just plain unpleasant, I think, “God she really just sucks at cooking.” (If you think I’m being mean, don’t worry, Wilma Flinstone doesn’t know what a blog is, much less this one, and therefore won’t be offended by my opinions.)
I was at Cafe Minerva in the West Village earlier this week when I had one of those moments. We were originally there for coffee but then decided to get a couple of desserts too. In one of my usual chocolate-craving moments (which go a little like this), I ordered the chocolate mousse. Flaneur, on the other hand, went with the bread pudding.
Immediately, mental images flashed in my head as the memories came back. Stale loaves of Cuban bread, goopiness turned gelatinous, glass Pyrex dish in the fridge, stray raisins, cold and gummy texture. This was the bread pudding of my childhood.
What came out of the kitchen and was placed in front of my my boyfriend was nothing like my flashbacks of bread puddings past. It was creamy and soft even while still having a defined shape (think a fat hunk of lasagna) with a velvety texture on the tongue and the slightest hint of a crunch from the granulated sugar sprinkled on top. Sweet and milky, with a cinammon-y spicy flavor, it was ideal for the gray fall afternoon. Where was this all those years I lived at home? Certainly not in the cold Pyrex in the fridge.
The mousse that I chose, in case you were wondering, was also great but completely different. My mom never tried her hand at chocolate mousse (or if she did I’ve blocked the traumatic memory) so I don’t have anything of hers to compare it to. It was delicious, a thick, rich, decadent, chocolate served in a little glass jar with a small plop of whipped cream on top. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who’s not a die-hard chocolate fan because it was just that rich and chocolatey. Not everyone has my high tolerance for over the top dessert eating.