As spring approaches, we think of themes centred around renewal, hope and rebirth. Odd, you say, that my article would sound somber: Lost and found. And yet, with most losses we do face, ultimately, the need for hope and renewal and redirection. Every loss is different; the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a miscarriage, a job, leaving home — they are all major life events that require hope and renewal to find a way forward. It has been a difficult year for me. Losing my dear Mom, retiring from a successful, albeit draining, 35 year teaching career and having my darling son move out to forge a life for himself — all are major life events and losses. The term loss implies that something is merely missing and could be found. The “finding” of something lost is, of course, the tricky part. The part that requires work, faith, and hope. Although all losses are different, the challenge is to look ahead, to see the glass as “half full” and not “half empty”. Spring has always felt full of promise for me. The weather warms, my garden wakes up, my bike beckons. My focus this spring will be on “finding”. Finding new routines to structure my days, new volunteer possibilities, order in the disarray that is my home, nurturing my garden and finding joy in the memories and legacy of my mom. I hope you find hope this spring — renew, refresh and look forward!
The recipe that sprang to mind while writing this article was “pain perdu” or in English “lost bread” or bread pudding. It implies that the stale bread would otherwise be lost or discarded. Many of our grandparents recipes were created to avoid loss and waste in a time when food was precious. In our throw away society, we have so much and are inclined to chuck a 2 day old baguette or a slightly tired apple in the garbage, rather than repurpose them into a delicious and comforting dessert or even breakfast. My mother and grandmother made many variations of this. Other dried fruits, nuts or breads can also be used.
Bread pudding with apples, raisins, cinnamon and pecans
- 2 cups diced, day old baguette
- 1 apple, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup of raisins
- ¼ cup of chopped pecans
- ½ tsp. grated lemon rind
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a small 8” casserole with butter.
Combine cubed bread, raisins, apple, zest and pecans in casserole. Mix the milk, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour over the bread mixture. Bake for 35 or 40 minutes till the custard is set, puffed and golden brown but the top is not dried out. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or whipping cream or even a dollop of vanilla yogurt!