When I graduated college, my first job was at Varsity Brands, Inc. It's where I met my sweet husband and lots of new friends who I would keep touch with even after I left the job. Jim Lord was one of those great people. I also got to know his sweet wife, Ginger, and their son AJ. Jim and Ginger have been so helpful and supportive of Cooktales, and for that I am forever grateful. I asked Jim for a recipe because he's a big foodie himself, and he gave me this holiday treat from his Granny. Here's his holiday cooktale:
Like most people, I recall my childhood Thanksgivings and Christmases with wonder and joy. And like most, my childhood holidays were filled with feasting and playing with cousins and siblings at my grandparent’s house. It was there, on those special occasions when we gathered around the table, that every child’s eyes would scan the table for the most perfect dish imaginable – Granny’s sweet rice.
When I asked my grandmother how she made it taste so good, she replied with the same reply as when I asked her how come her bread tasted so much better than store-bought; a twinkle in her eye, a smile, and the single word, “Magic.” My grandmother used to joke that all of the wonderful things that came out of her kitchen were because she was “Granny Good Witch”, who used magic to make everything so good.
When Andrea asked me to submit a family recipe and a story, I knew this one would have to be the one. So, with a little fear and a lot of excitement, I asked my mom for the recipe. That’s when I found out there wasn’t one.
You see, after my Granny Good Witch passed away, our family passed around some of her “recipes”, such as they were. I don’t know a grandmother anywhere who uses a recipe to cook, and mine was no different, apparently. So, with a general working knowledge, a little family lore, and some guesswork thrown in, different aunts, my mom, and a few cousins have made and brought sweet rice to every family gathering since, with varying degrees of success. So, my mom wrote down the recipe in her head and I gave it my best shot. It turns out, even the recipe my mom gave me wasn’t the one you see here, but it turned out to be as close to my grandmother’s as I can recall it being. The surprising thing is how simple it is.
- 1 cup dry long grain rice (prepared per directions to yield 4 servings
- 2 to 3 cups milk (whole milk will yield best results. Use more or less milk depending on how thick you want the final product to be.)
- ¾ cup sugar
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
Serves 6-8 warm or chilled (Also makes for a great breakfast snack the morning after the feast!)
Prepare 1 cup of dry long grain rice per directions.
Once the rice is done, add in milk and the sugar, turn the temperature up to low medium and slowly bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently. This will take time. Keep stirring at the boil for 1 – 2 minutes, then set aside, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. Poor into a serving bowl and sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
The patience is the key to the dish. It will come to a boil on this low temperature, eventually. Do not turn up the heat, or the bottom will scald. This is the revelation of making this dish; the magic is in the patience. Now every time I make it, waiting patiently for it to boil, I think about my grandmother making this dish for us and I know that the most important ingredient she used in her kitchen wasn’t magic – it was love.
CHEERS TO COOKTALES FROM EVERYWHERE!