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Indian Pudding Day!

Today we celebrate a classic pudding that is not made from rice or tapioca, the Indian Pudding which is made of cornmeal.  This day is observed annually on November 13th.

During the cold weather, we always think of easy comfort foods like soup, hot cocoa, and some dessert-like chocolate or vanilla pudding.  Today we will talk about a traditional New England dessert classic. A creamy-thick custard made with milk, egg, cornmeal, spices, usually sweetened with molasses and slow-baked into perfection.

During the 17th century, the English colonists brought the hasty pudding to North America and transformed it completely.  They did not have wheat, so they substitute cornmeal to make the dessert, a grain cultivated by the indigenous peoples, which led to the new name Indian pudding, derived from their name for cornmeal or Indian meal.

During those times, milk was plentiful, so instead of water, they substituted milk and use local sweeteners like maple syrup or molasses and spices when available like ginger and cinnamon.  They also include butter and eggs for a smoother consistency, adding raisins and nuts for flavor and contrasting texture.

Indian pudding is baked in a slow oven for several hours, transforming its texture from porridge-like quality of hasty pudding to a smoother texture more typical of custard puddings.  According to Kathleen Wall, an expert on colonial cooking, “the longer it cooks, the more liquid the gritty cornmeal absorbs, and the more it absorbs, the smoother the texture of the pudding gets.

Indian pudding is commonly served during the Thanksgiving Day celebration during the 19th century and was found in most American cookbooks before the 1900s.  During the 20th century, it is still associated with autumn holidays and occasionally revived by restaurants.  It is usually served warm and sometimes accompanied by vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

So, today, if you love pudding, celebrate this day by finding a classic recipe of the Indian pudding and make some for dessert after dinner with family.  Share your recipe on social media using #IndianPuddingDay.

1775 Patriots take Montreal

On November 13, 1775, Continental Army Brigadier General Richard Montgomery takes Montreal, Canada, without opposition.

Montgomery’s victory owed its success in part to Ethan Allen’s disorganized defeat at the hand of British General and Canadian Royal Governor Guy Carleton at Montreal on September 24, 1775. Allen’s misguided and undermanned attack on Montreal led to his capture by the British and imprisonment in Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, England. Although a failure in the short term, Allen’s attack had long-term benefits for the Patriots. Carleton had focused his attention on suppressing Allen’s attack, while refusing reinforcements to Fort St. Jean, to which Montgomery’s expedition laid siege from August 21 to November 3, 1775. Fort St. Jean’s commander, Major Charles Preston, surrendered on November 3, fearful of the hardship the town’s civilians would face during winter under siege. With the final fortification between Montgomery and Montreal in Patriot’s hands and Carleton’s defenses depleted by the conflict with Allen, Montgomery’s forces entered Montreal with ease on November 13.

After Montgomery’s success at winning Montreal for the Patriots, Carleton escaped and fled to Quebec City, where he and Montgomery would, in December, again face one another in a climactic battle that would determine the fate of the Patriot invasion of Canada.

(excerpted from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/patriots-take-montreal)

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