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My Blog

Grandma's Tapioca Pudding

Well, good morning to everyone.  Hope that your day will be filled with good things today.  As I hear the birds twittering outdoors, I sit here and wonder what the day will be like.  So far, the sound is magnificent, even with the windows closed, their sweet voices ring though.  Well, another tough day ahead of me.  Preparing the homes for the show at The Grove in Glenview's  craft faire along with storytelling at a Senior facility, I know when I come home to paint, I will probably want to just sit and relax, but....at this time of the year...that is not an option. 
Well, today's blog is about Tapioca Pudding.  Now, I know that it might be a strange topic, but last night I had dinner at Sweet Tomatoes.  Great place for loads of fresh vegetables, great chili soup and wonderful sour dough bread...but my favorite thing there is their Tapioca Pudding.  Now, normally this would not be a choice in a restaurant, because most come from those number 10 cans and taste pretty gooey.  They usually have a pretty odd taste to them...at least to me.  It tastes more like a sweet pudding than anything else.  But at Sweet Tomatoes, the tapioca is light and airy and really delicious!  As I sat eating my bowl....well, alright...two bowls...I told my husband how much I enjoyed it...there was only one thing missing.  When he asked what, I told him pineapple.  My grandmother used to make tapioca pudding for me as a child and she would substitute some of the liquid with pineapple juice and then add the pineapple.  She always used the version where you whipped in the eggs whites.  It was always fluffy and totally delishious.  I asked him whether he had tapioca growing up.  He said he thought that he might have.  But didn't recall the name.  He was brought up with parents who barely spoke the English language and said that they ate all types of puddings, but they just call them all pudding. 
I remembered back to when we first got married and I bought my first box of tapioca.  I made the normal recipe and couldn't for the life of me figure out what went wrong.  It didn't taste anything like Grandmas.  It wasn't like there was a huge choice in types of tapioca back then.  It was the red box or nothing.  As I read the box further, I discovered there was more than one way of making the pudding.  So I tried it that way...still not the same.  I finally called Grandma up to figure out what I was doing wrong.  That is when she shared her secret of making tapioca.  Of course....pineapple!  How could I have not realized it.  Did you ever just eat something for the pure pleasure, time and time again and not stop to even think about what it was you were eating?  Well, there was my answer.  From then on, tapioca had a whole different meaning for me.  That is, until I went to the bulk food store in Shipshewana, Indiana and saw tapioca in bags and there were all different sizes of balls of tapioca!  Now I was being educated all over again. I never imagined that there was anything but the one kind. 
Later, as years went by, we went to an ice cream parlor owned by a Chinese family and they had something called a Bubble drink.  Upon trying the drink, I wondered what the jellied things on the bottom were.  With a little research, I discovered that the drink was actually a type of Chinese tea made with tapioca.  Another discovering. 
Well, last night , my husband asked me whether I knew where tapioca came from.  Stumped!  I had no idea...I had never thought about it.  It was just TAPIOCA!  So we had to find out.   Tapioca comes from is the dried and processed cassava root which is grown in Africa and Latin America. It was originally found in Brazil. Like most roots it has a tough brown skin with a white interior flesh. Cassava roots can be bitter or sweet and should be cooked before eating as they contain the poisonous chemical hydrocyanic acid. They are an important source of carbohydrate calories in tropical regions throughout the earth.  The one thing is that it is used as a thickening agent and is also gluten free. 
I am sure my Grandmother never knew about the history or the background of Tapioca..but one thing was for sure...she sure knew the best way to prepare it!

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