Camille’s Cooking: The best rice pudding

It is often said that one must love to cook in order to be a good cook. However, I do firmly believe that any person who does not particularly enjoy time in the kitchen can still offer enjoyable edibles to please family and friends. One can also signal that a lot of love was put into the preparation of the dish. This pretty much sums up the cooking scenario when it comes to my sister Lucy.

In our family, Lucy is the serious business mind, and I am the creative wild child. While we are known as a perfect pair for hosting large formal parties and charity functions, we each support a different side of the project. Lucy handles the finances and the organizational tasks, and I breathe excitement into the theme of the event. Suffice it to say, it is always quite a ride for everyone involved.

My sister will often tell people how she prefers not to step into the kitchen. A restaurateur for over 30 years, she has an adoration and educated knowledge of fine food, but she would rather have somebody else do the cooking as opposed to herself.

In spite of my sister’s lack of culinary enthusiasm, she has mastered more than one dish and especially one in particular. Lucy makes the best rice pudding I have ever tasted. The recipe was given to her by a long-ago colleague named Nellie Rothstein. My sister was so taken with the rich, creamy taste that boasted such pure ingredients, that she was determined to make it her signature dessert in all the following years.

Lucy did master that pudding, and as the years went by it was greatly anticipated by our family and friends for our many gatherings. I still recall a Thanksgiving project that my son Christopher did for his teacher when he was a little boy. He was asked to list all the things he was grateful for during the holiday season of giving thanks. He listed his family, friends, toys and games. The very last item on the list was “and Aunt Lucy’s rice pudding!”


1 cup Carolina rice

2 cups cold water

2 quarts and 1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large pot, bring rice, water, two quarts of milk and sugar to a full boil. Lower to a simmer for 45 minutes while stirring constantly. Rice should be soft.

Stir in eggs, remaining milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a complete boil. Lower to a simmer for five minutes while stirring constantly.

Remove immediately from heat and pour pudding into a deep casserole dish. Sprinkle a bit more cinnamon on top. Cool completely and refrigerate. Serve cold.

Camille’s tip: It is best to make this recipe the day before as the pudding will settle into a desired and creamy firmness.

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