Tuesday, 2 October 2007


The stewed apples go down a treat. Not like the custard. When Mummy Grit announces it would be fun to make custard, it isn't fun at all.

I have to think carefully about this. Making custard is a chore. Making custard is, in fact, deeply boring, standing at the hob trying not to get lumps in warming yellow milk. And what is the reward for this labour? Something that tastes like warmed yellow milk with sugar in. I am not a fan.

But there again, I am not aged seven. And when Mummy Grit says it would be fun to make custard she is trying to make something that is deeply boring and horrible-tasting become exciting; to transform us all with a wonderful, sensual eating experience. It is the cooking equivalent of modern art.

For example, when I find a smelly old dishcloth in the sink I do not say 'Ugh! A revolting smell from the disease-laden stinky dishcloth crawling in the sink!' No. I say, 'What a wonderful example of the creativity inherent in all natural processes, and perfectly set against white bleached ceramic! The work of nature indeed finds a place within the sterile man-made environment of twenty-first century Britain. This is affordable Brit-Art, fitting for the way we live now.'

Well it's the same with custard. Except that if you are seven, making custard is exciting. It truly is. The beautiful crumbly pale yellowness of the powder that, like snow, stands in peaks, forms crevices against a spoon, can be hollowed, shaped, sculptured and rolls like silk between the fingertips. And then the beautiful, sudden deepening of colour as the milk is poured and mixed. The crunch of sugar, the strangeness of the thickening, the delightful sounds of the plip plop drip, as the last of the custard leaves the pan and falls like a slow, silken yellow waterfall into the old china sauce boat, waiting on the table. Delicious.

So we have a big fight over who gets to lift the custard out of the tin. Who gets to add the sugar, the milk, passed from hand to hand; who gets to mix, to stir, to pour.

And now we have a custard rota. Tomorrow Tiger. Then Squirrel. Then Shark And so on, each and every day we'll be making and eating custard. Until everyone declares they're fed up with eating custard. After all, what is it anyway, but a load of warmed yellow milk with sugar in.


Em said...

Ahh, but did you realise that you could make potato and apple custard?

Well, it's sweet potato and banana custard, but I'm sure a little substitution would work OK.

grit said...

printed out and raring to experiment...

Anonymous said...

I suspect that your beautiful and tempting description of the wonders of custard powder and custard making actually betrays memories of a long lost love of custard making!

Maybe you should get in on that rota as well, with an empty kitchen on your day!

You have really tempted me! It was a very sensual experience! LOL!

I love the 3rd person thing you've got going on!

grit said...

hi sally... i read somewhere that needing a 3rd person narrator meant a personality disorder. typical.