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Is it ok to call it "Indian Pudding"?

There's disagreement online over this. On the one hand, "Indian" pudding seems to be obsolete, possibly wrong and offensive. On the other hand, that is the familiar name for the dish, and some Native Americans actually call it "Indian Pudding." Any strong opinions about this?

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  1. What? Should we call "Mexican" restaurants something else? It is Indian pudding so why change the name. Ridiculous.

    1. personally, I wouldn't be comfortable calling it that, as it's not Indian. It's a twist on a Native American dish http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-india... (we use 'First Nations' in Canada).

      1. Yes it's ok to call that preparation "Indian Pudding".

        There is nothing offensive, except for to who search for offense where there is none.

        Max.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Maximilien

          I agree. Here in New England, it's on the winter menus of certain restaurants as "Indian pudding." This term simply communicates what it is, so the diner will know. I'd feel very pretentious ordering a "Native American cornmeal-molasses bake."

        2. Native Americans call themselves Indians and from what I've seen, don't take offense at people in general using the term. If you want to relate it to other racial terms, it's not like the N word, it's more like the term black - in ultra-PC usage, African-American (or Native American) is correct, but black is not offensive in informal speech, even when used by whites, and neither is Indian.

          Having said that - there is a limit to exactly how the term can be used. For example - no Indian, Welshman, or Jew that I know is offended by being correctly labeled as such. But all would justifiably take offense upon hearing phrases like "Indian giver," "Welsh on a deal," or "Jew someone down."

          4 Replies
          1. re: BobB

            How about" Ethno-centric, alimentary lipid-protein, aboriginal denizen preparation of heirloom astronomically dictated sustenance". AKA INDIAN PUDDING, after you had your first course of Moors and Christians, followed by a Dutch Baby pancake.

            1. re: ospreycove

              And let's not forget the WOP salad, or the PC Italian salad.

              1. re: ospreycove

                Oh, go chow down on a spotted dick! ;-)

            2. Thank you all! So, it is both proper and accurate to call an Indian Pudding an Indian Pudding.

              1. Icecone: May I suggest that you ask Indigenous American people this question. It really isn't fair to ask people of any other background.

                3 Replies
                1. re: luckyfatima

                  luckyfatima, that's just it. Indigenous people do call it "Indian Pudding". For example, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Illinois had a fundraising dinner and on their menu was Indian Pudding. If the Mitchell Museum calls it Indian Pudding, there must be at least some native americans who find it an acceptable term.

                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Speaking as someone with a few "Indigenous Americans" in the ol' family tree, I can say with a high degree of confidence that Indians aren't offended that usage. In fact, the only people I've ever met who insisted on "Native American" were white folks with too much time and indignation on their hands, most of whom have never met a real live Indian.

                    Seriously, take a look at the official Cherokee website, where the tribe refers to itself as a "great Indian nation." (http://freedmen.cherokee.org/) Here in NorCal, the official name of a group that makes the news periodically is the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. I could probably come up with a few dozen more examples, but you get the picture...

                    I'm all for getting rid of bad caricatures and pejorative usage. But all my Indian family members call themselves just that. You should feel free to do so as well.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      It really depends on the context. Here Indigenous people would insist in public, political situations on being called First Nations or Aboriginal (the latter also includes the Inuit, and even the Métis culture - as a distinct culture, not just any person with Indigenous and non-Indigenous (usually European) ancestry. But I also have Aboriginal family members (both First Nations and Inuit) and there is no objection at all to expressions such as "Indian Time".

                      And an Inuit cousin finds stuff like "Eskimo Pie" a hoot.

                  2. Comanche pudding is the accepted term.

                      1. re: smartie

                        I prefer the Apache Apricot.......pudding!

                        1. re: ospreycove

                          darn it I forgot Seminolina pudding!

                            1. re: smartie

                              Most things are better than eating crow.

                              Even natchez

                        2. The Indian in the name does not refer directly to the people but to their staple grain. To the English, "corn" was whatever the staple grain was in a given region (that's why the "corn" is green in any place growing young grain plants; and why "rye and Injun'" referred to a mix of rye and maize; and why the classic "corn rye" of NYC refers to rye as the staple corn cereal and does not include maize except sometimes to dust the baking surface, but I digress) The English called maize Indian corn, to distinguish it from the corns of the British Isles. And Indian pudding was made with ground meal of various proportions of Indian corn.

                          So, if you feel a strange unnecessary urge to rename it, Maize & Molasses Pudding would be the best option.

                          The more politically incorrect aspect of Indian pudding, a-historically, was the use of molasses, which was a byproduct of the Triangle Trade (molasses, rum (famously distilled in those times not in the Caribbean but in Medford, Mass.), and slaves). Those who objected to slavery tried to find ways to avoid sugar cane and molasses; maple syrup and honey were preferred for their slave-free production. You'll see this distinction in the different recipes for baked beans in New England, with molasses being more characteristic of the coastal regions and maple syrup more characteristic of the interior in many places (think of maple syrup more as an extremely labor-intensive subsistence product in that era). Boston's connection with molasses et cet. also made it a major center of American confectionary for many generations.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Karl S

                            According to the Wiki article, hasty pudding is the older and more general English term for a porridge like this, citing a verse in Yankee Doodle Dandy.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Yes, but Indian Pudding is the specifically Amurcan hybrid with native ingredients.

                          2. Perhaps we should rethink what we call Scotch as well.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: PattiCakes

                              not food related but there is a Jew's Harp.

                              On the Scotch theme there are Scotch Eggs, Scotch (and Irish) whiskies.

                              Hot Cross Buns are Christian/Easter related, Easter eggs - all could be seen as Un PC...............

                              1. re: smartie

                                There is also a Wandering Jew houseplant. And when they were very popular I had Jewish friends who had them, and even gave them pet names of famous historical Jews.

                                As for Scots, the whisky is Scotch, but the people are Scots or Scottish.

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  In Florida until 2 years ago there was the Jewfish, a really huge Grouper. Now it has been officially renamed to the Goliath Grouper. It is quite interesting to see the old" Florida Cracker Fish heads" struggle with the name change.

                                  1. re: smartie

                                    I see nothing "Un PC" about any of these items. I detect poor grammar confusing scotch with people. And I traveled to Cairns, Australia for the privilege of diving with jewfish.
                                    PC phobia is wasted energy.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      I agree - I dislike PC phobia. But this whole thread is about whether something is PC or not in naming food.

                                      1. re: smartie

                                        Agreed. And if Alan says it's OK, and Dartmouth says it's OK, I think the question has beed answered. (Alan went to Harvard, if I may share.)

                                      2. re: Veggo

                                        Just to set the record straight, my husband is of Scottish heritage, so I would never call a Scotsman "Scotch". As his father used to say, "there are only 2 things that are scotch: tape and whiskey".

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              So best to "scotch" that reply then... ;-D>

                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                            What do bonnets, ale, pancakes and broth have in common?

                                            Butter has been excluded.

                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                              Well, as the tail end of a word, there's also butter and hop. :)

                                        1. re: PattiCakes

                                          The ethnonym Scotch (and Italian for that matter) have a totally different history than the term "Indian" as applied to the indigenous people of the Americas. These comparisons are false parallels.

                                          1. re: luckyfatima

                                            Charles Mann's landmark "1491: New Revelations of the Native Americans Before Columbus" has an entire appendix devoted to the issue of "Indian" as an ethnonym, and has served, I believe, to undo that was becoming associated with that term in some quarters. In sum, "Indian" is what most first peoples of the lower 48 states of the USA (and "indios" in Mexico at least) use to refer to themselves as a subcontinental enthnonym. The issue of Eskimo/Inuit (who are, traditionally, not "Indians" as their progenitors came much later to North America) is another conversation that Mann delves into.

                                        2. In my middle school we made Monkey Bread, 3 years later same teacher, same recipe made the students call it pull apart cinnamon bread, "to be PC". What are everyone's thoughts on that?

                                          5 Replies
                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                              Is this even where the name came from? Anyone know why it is called monkey bread?

                                              1. re: melpy

                                                Because organ grinders fed it to their monkey.

                                                1. re: melpy

                                                  Because you grab the pieces with your fingers like a monkey grabbing fruit from a tree. At least that's what I was taught

                                              2. re: melpy

                                                Well I wouldn't want to be so insensitive as to offend any primates.

                                              3. I'm in Oklahoma and we have a high Native American population here. And I've yet to go to one of their powwows or festivals and not be offered Indian Tacos. I can't see why pudding would be offensive. Unless it is bad pudding, maybe.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                  We have Indian corn and Indian Summer. Russian dressing and Scotch eggs. I'm sure you c'hounds could add hundreds more.

                                                  There are so many ethnic references in food names that we could go crazy trying to be polictically correct. For the most part the names are an attempt to identify their origin or to celebrate that food as something that sprang from a particular culture. The problem arises when those references are used in a derogatory manner. Part of my heritage is Pennsyvania Dutch, which is actually PA German/Swiss. "PA Dutch" is attached to all kinds of foods, and I don't find that offensive at all, even though it is technically incorrect. What I find disconcerting is the attempt to be so PC that we erase the differences that celebrate our heritage.

                                                  On the other hand, my mother (who would be in her late 90's now), used a term for brazil nuts that was common to her childhood and her culture but which I found VERY offensive. She was not allowed to use that term in front of me or my children although I don't think she ever quite understood why.

                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                    "On the other hand, my mother (who would be in her late 90's now), used a term for brazil nuts that was common to her childhood and her culture but which I found VERY offensive. She was not allowed to use that term in front of me or my children although I don't think she ever quite understood why."

                                                    I think I can guess which one.................

                                                    Other ones I can think of that might cause offense

                                                    Kaffir Lime (a lot of sites now want you to refer to them as "makrut limes")

                                                    Indian fig/Barbary fig (both old names for the prickly pear)

                                                    Bastard Cinnamon (and old name for Cassia cinnamon (the kind we use for most of our cinnamon sticks in this country and that they keep warning us is carcinogenic (as oppsed to ceylon/mexican/canella cinnamon, the skinny mutlilayer one.)

                                                    Hottentot Fig/Bread (both edible plants found in parts of africa the first a kind of fruit the latter a sort of oversized yam)

                                                    Blackfellows Bread (a kind of oversized truffle like fungus, found in Australia)

                                                    I'm sure I could think of a lot more, given time.

                                                2. Interesting. Until this thread I'd never heard of Indian Pudding. Seriously. I don't really think it's because the term has changed in common use, though. Not sure. From the link (in the third post) it appears its main popularity is in New England, and I haven't spent enough time there eating indigenous New England food to run across it, perhaps. ;-) That does explain why I didn't run across it in the Southwest last year, though.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: CrazyOne

                                                    It seems to be indigenous to New Englind, having been derived from a type of English pudding. My uneducated guess is that "Indian" came from the fact that Englishmen made it once they came to the "land of the Indian", using a hasty pudding concept from England but with the corn "Indians" taught them to work with. Here is a great run-down on it's origins:

                                                    http://whatscookingamerica.net/Histor...

                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                      It's called Indian pudding because it included "Indian meal" (as opposed to being made only with grains the English knew, like rye, oats, wheat or barley) - what we now in the US call cornmeal but was not then called that.

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        "Indian meal" - would that be the veg thaali, or the mixed tandoori grill special :)

                                                        And in my mind, "Indian pudding" would be kheer, sakkarai pongal, etc. :D

                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                          How about a maiz pudding flavored with jaggery?

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            Sounds brilliant Paulj! Have you made any? How was it?

                                                            And speaking for myself as an Indian, I just can't bring myself to refer to Native Americans as "Indians" (no offense intended). Of course, the NA communities can call themselves whatever they want.

                                                            I have never made or tried the dish called "Indian pudding", so can't say what I would call it ..... From Paulj's description below, it does sound good though.

                                                    2. re: CrazyOne

                                                      I've only eaten it at one restaurant, an old establishment in Boston. But the recipe is in various comprehensive cookbooks, such as Joy of Cooking, and Bittman's 'Cook everything'.

                                                      It's an old-school kind of desert, cooked long and slow (imagine a cast iron pot beside the hearth fire), strongly flavored with molasses, and not too sweet. Plus corn meal mush, plain or sweet, fell out of favor in much of the country - until it reappeared as the sexy Italian polenta. Curiously few of us know about the sweetened versions of polenta that poor Italians used to eat for supper or breakfast.

                                                      How about a Southwest variation on Indian pudding - using piloncillo (raw brown sugar cones) and cinnamon as the flavoring? Do any of the SW Indian groups (Navajo, Pueblo) make a corn meal mush? Corn was a Pueblo staple, but I'm not up on the various ways they prepared it.

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        paulj: Indian Pudding used to be a staple dessert at Howard Johnson's (HoJo's) many years ago. Always served warm, and almost always with a scoop of vanilla icecream on top. As I remember from my college summer working at HoJo's in the late 60's, it was never terribly popular here in Pennsylvania, but probably enjoyed a better rep in the New England states. I'm sure you would also find it in places that do throw-back Colonial cooking.

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          Polenta was a food of the poor in Northern Italy (especially Northeastern) and anything but sexy. I knew an old fellow from Friuli who couldn't abide it as often his family had nothing else to eat.

                                                        2. re: CrazyOne

                                                          So, I'm not the only one.

                                                          I suggest Mousse ala Sauvage as an alternate.

                                                          1. re: 512window

                                                            From a 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking:
                                                            'A distinguished botanist friend had as visitors on a field trip a Parisian confrere who traveled accompanied by his gifted Indonesian chef. To amuse the chef, our friend cooked his favorite corn cakes for him over a campfire. As he tossed the flapjacks, the chef cried out in delight, "Crepes Sauvages". (this is missing in the 75 edition)

                                                        3. I am part American Indian/Native American and have no problem with Indian Pudding. I think it is too bad that it has gotten to the point that we need to worry about these things.

                                                          1. Ethnic terms can be offensive when used in a stereotypical and/or perjorative sense (as in "Indian-giver", for example). I see nothing offensive in calling the specified dish "Indian Pudding".

                                                            Then again, I thought from the heading that you were asking about Kheer. :)

                                                            1. As we have the Cleveland Indians in major league baseball's American League central division, so shall we have indian pudding.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                Though the use of Indian and related names as sports team names or mascots is much more controversial. It has elements of stereotyping and objectifying.

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  And is quickly disappearing, at least in college sports, thanks to NCAA rules. Only a handful of schools have managed to get special permission to keep their Indian imagery by working with related tribes, most notably Florida State. And to stay on topic - wouldn't it be great if sports teams with ethnic-related mascots sold food from the mascot's culture at games?

                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                    The undergrad school i attended had to change their name several years ago. It took a while to get accustomed to the new name...i like your food idea.

                                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                                      My son graduated from a university that is part of the Pennsylvania system of higher education -- a school called Indiana University of Pennylvania. It was named thus because it is located in the town of Indiana in Indiana County. Their mascot WAS an Indian brave, but the NCAA took that away; now they are the flying squirrels, or something similar. I always though the Brave was a noble symbol honored a proud people. Of couse Edinboro University (PA) got to keep it's mascot, \which is a caraciture of a gnomish Scotsman with gnarly legs and wearing a kilt. Usually portrayed on fraternity t shirts as drunk. Go figure.

                                                                      I like the food idea too.

                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                        I'd love to see someone try to get Notre Dame to give up "The Fighting Irish", and the Celtic caricature that goes with it.

                                                                        1. re: Striver

                                                                          That is not quite the same as it was self-referential humour. Lots of Black comedians (in the US you'd say African-American) make profuse use of the N-word, and I've heard lots of similar uses by many other ethnic and cultural groups. (Like First Nations people talking about "Indian Time"). There may have been some Indigenous people on university sporting teams, but they were usually the exception.

                                                                2. Evidently the US Government wouldn't have a problem with its name: http://www.bia.gov/

                                                                  1. This thread is making me hungry for Indian pudding. I used to like the version they served at the Commons dining hall at Yale many moons ago when I went there. (In New England of course.)

                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                    1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                      This thread prompted me to make this recipe. Ate with vanilla ice cream-- it was fantastic (much better than whipped cream... this has a very dense, molasses/spice flavor and it needed a strong milkiness to break it up.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      Indian Pudding

                                                                      Toasting the spices in the saucepan prior to adding the liquid brings out their volatile oils and sharpens their flavor. Humble-looking Indian pudding requires some sort of embellishment. We like to add a dollop of whipped cream that has been flavored with rum, vanilla extract, and maple syrup instead of sugar. Vanilla ice cream is another option.

                                                                      Ingredients
                                                                      1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
                                                                      1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                      4 cups whole milk
                                                                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                      1/4 cup maple syrup
                                                                      1/2 cup molasses
                                                                      1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                      3/4 cup (4 ounces) yellow cornmeal ­, preferably stone-ground
                                                                      1 teaspoon cornstarch
                                                                      2 large eggs , lightly beaten
                                                                      Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

                                                                      Instructions

                                                                      1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 275 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, toast the cinnamon and ginger until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the milk (reserving 2 tablespoons), vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, and salt and heat to just below boiling. Stirring constantly with a whisk, slowly pour the cornmeal into the milk mixture and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mush has thickened and the whisk leaves furrows across the surface of the mixture, about 30 minutes.

                                                                      2. Meanwhile, whisk together the reserved 2 tablespoons milk and the cornstarch in a small bowl until free of lumps. Whisk in the eggs and set the mixture aside. Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a tea kettle and keep hot.

                                                                      3. When the cornmeal mush has thickened (after 30 minutes of cooking), pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mush in a slow, steady stream while constantly stirring with a whisk. Once completely mixed, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until large bubbles rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes.

                                                                      4. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch soufflé dish or 2-quart casserole dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and set the dish inside a deep roasting pan. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, adding enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven and bake until the center of the pudding is no longer runny and has gently set, about 2 hours. Remove the soufflé dish from the water bath and cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Spoon the warm pudding into individual bowls and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately.

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        This version is too elaborate for this dish's humble origins. Maple syrup, corn starch, water bath? Even the eggs are debatable (see a recent thread). :)

                                                                        Just make the thin corn mush on the stove top, season with molasses and ginger, and slowly bake in a deep cast iron dutch oven till set, or the edges start to burn. :)

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          Molasses has a way of overwhelming the flavor of the pudding if you don't get the ratio of ingredients right. This recipe included the maple syrup as a way of helping to balance out the flavor and add sweetness (it was developed by the Cooks Illustrated/Americas Test Kitchen team, a Boston-based test kitchen staffed by professional chefs).

                                                                          After making dozens of versions of this recipe, they decided on adding the maple syrup which was admittedly "untraditional, but greatly improved the pudding." The corn starch was added as a way of stabilizing the pudding so that it doesn't curdle, rather than using butter (which makes the pudding more likely to "crack"). Finally the water bath was the final step in ensuring a smooth, velvety, non-curdled texture.

                                                                          You certainly are free to take the humble pioneer approach to making this dish, but I can't be held responsible for the lumpy, iron-flavored results :)

                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                            The big question is what grade of maple syrup? It makes a difference.

                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                              I used B. But then again, I always use B.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                Surprisingly it appears that I have made a "quick and dirty" wheat based version of this dish....by accident! several times when I was in colledge this is going to require a bit of a backstory.

                                                                                One of the few things that my father bakes is another New England speciality, namely Joe Froggers (In case you've never heard of these it's basically a gigantic rum and molasses soaked gingerbread cookie) whose backstory probably would qualify it for our list of enthically incorrect foodstuffs (Basically the story tells of a free black man who lived in one of the big sailing ports (Either Cape Cod or Nantucket can't remember which) Named Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe supposedly would bake these cookies which were the size of the frogs in his bakyard pond (hence the "Frogger part". He would then trade the cookies to the sailors in exchange for rum, which he was inordinately fond of. The sailors would buy the cookies since they never actually spoil if kept dry (they just get hard as hell) and presuably were a lot tastier than hardtack and just as dunkable.) anyhoo I was (and still am) very fond of these cookies so when I went to colledge, my Dad would regulary send me tins of them whenever he baked a batch. intially I would eat all of the softer ones (I like a soft cookie so dad deliberatley undercooks my portion a little) the problem would come at the end when all that was left was bits and pecies that had gotten to hard to chew and a lot of crumbs. One day, seredipitiously, I made a discovery; if you took the crumbs, ground them back into a consistency similar to flour (in a coffee grinder) poured the result into a bowl added enough water to make it into a batter and then microwaved it for about 5 minutes. it turned into a sort of firm bread pudding which was eminently edible. Indian pudding sounds sorta similar just with a corn base.

                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                    Thanks Karl, now I don't have to dig up the recipie for any who are curios.

                                                                                    There is actually one other funny story I have about the cookies. My dad uses the version of the recipe used by the Publick House, in Stubridge, Mass. (the linked recipies may in fact be that one, as my dad got it from his mother who got it out of some magazine. he still hase the orginal clipping I'll have to make check some time to see if the printing and back match) Well some years after he started baking them, we happened to stay at the Publick House (one of the camps I went to whne I was a kid was near Sturbridge and at least once, we decided to stay over a day or two. On the day we were going to leave, we of course had to go to the bake shop and true to form they had Joe Forggers. However when we took a bite, they didn;t taste at all right. Turns out that, due to scale (and possilbe legal concerns) the Publick House had gone over to using rum extract (while Dad of course continued (and still does continue) to use real rum. It makes a LOT of difference.

                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                      The linked recipe uses rum, you will be glad to know. Read the backstory from that blog about that clipped receipt.

                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                        I did, fascinating stuff. Oh and my dad can testify about the need for a heavy mixer; he actually has to use my grandma's old one as the one time he tried to use ours, the motor burned out IMMEDIATELY.

                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                              I should have recognized ATK imprint in that recipe.
                                                                              Christopher Kimball's New England pedigree is nearly as good as Durgin Park. :)

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                "The corn starch was added as a way of stabilizing the pudding so that it doesn't curdle, "

                                                                                Interesting. Doesn't the cornmeal, even when cooked for hours, retain some grittiness? What is the distinguishing trait in a curdled indian pudding?

                                                                                "This recipe included the maple syrup as a way of helping to balance out the flavor and add sweetness (it was developed by the Cooks Illustrated/Americas Test Kitchen team, a Boston-based test kitchen staffed by professional chefs)."

                                                                                Did ATK originate the idea of mixing molasses and maple syrup? I looked at lots of recipes and many combine the two sweeteners.

                                                                                1. re: icecone

                                                                                  "Interesting. Doesn't the cornmeal, even when cooked for hours, retain some grittiness? What is the distinguishing trait in a curdled indian pudding?"

                                                                                  According to ATK: "While most Indian pudding recipes call for fine-ground cornmeal, we found that coarser, stone-ground meal made for a more richly flavored pudding with an appealing texture." So it appears the goal of the recipe was not to create a uniformly smooth texture (or as close as one can get with even fine ground cornmeal), but rather to avoid the uneven lumpiness that curdling would imbue to the dessert.

                                                                                  "Did ATK originate the idea of mixing molasses and maple syrup? I looked at lots of recipes and many combine the two sweeteners."

                                                                                  No, they never claim to have invented the technique, only noting that their inclusion of it improved the flavor, despite being nontraditional. (In my context, "it was developed..." refers to ATK developing the recipe, not developing the technique of adding maple syrup).

                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    I made an Indian pudding again today, this time with a teaspoon of flour in the batter (not ATK's recipe but the one I already had). I used flour instead of cornstarch because I was limiting the ingredients to those available in early times.

                                                                                    The result is noticeably smoother and softer than the pudding without. Very nice.

                                                                                    When did the ATK recipe come out? Was it on one of the ATK episodes or was it published in one of their magazines? I'm surprised there aren't more Indian pudding recipes that list cornstarch or flour.

                                                                                    1. re: icecone

                                                                                      I don't know when the recipe was published, but it appears in their American Classics cookbook (I got it online with my subscription)

                                                                                      Mr Taster