Comfort on a Snowy Day

Today, Ann Arbor officially broke the record for these snowiest winter in our history. After two spring-like days and the first sighting of “bare ground” since January, we got hit with about 5 inches of snow, strong winds and tonight the temperature is supposed to go below zero.

Our office was closed  so I had the chance to catch up on some paper work, read , take a nap, play with the dog and the cats and in between, of course, answer some email.

There is something about a snowstorm which makes staying home extra special. Looking out the window and enjoying the relative peace and quiet has been wonderful although I am getting a bit impatient as the day is nearing an end.

The comforts of home are a wonderful blessing and never more so than on a day like this.

But, this storm brought one additional comfort. A comfort food that took me back to my youth.

The other day, Ellen and I were reminiscing about comfort foods from when we were kids. Then, I happened to mention one that I had introduced Ellen to shortly after we were married but we hadn’t had in a long time, that being one of the classic comfort foods of New England: Grapenut Custard.

Now, I’m perfectly prepared to hear that this wonderful recipe is found in other places but in several places on the Internet, Grapenut custard is called the quintessential New England Comfort Food so I make no apologies.

It’s a simple recipe: Eggs, Milk, Sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and, of course, Grape Nuts cereal. The result is a dessert with mushy grape nuts at the bottom of the bowl, sweet custard on the top. Put some whipped cream or ice cream on the top and it rivals any dessert anywhere.

So, last night, Ellen surprised me with a huge bowl of Grapenut custard. And, it wasn’t easy. I shouldn’t eat eggs so she used Egg Beaters. I have had to, sadly, cut down on dairy (one of the prices we pay for getting older) so she made it with almond milk, and when I came home from work last night at 9:45, it was all ready but it hadn’t quite set. So, we had a little, pronounced it: “pretty good” and went to bed.

Then, this morning, with the snow beginning to swirl, I went to the refrigerator, took it out and it had set beautifully and the taste took me back 50 years and 500 miles. It was magnificent.

If you haven’t tried it, you should and you can easily find the Yankee Magazine recipe which is the best. But, if you didn’t eat it growing up, it might not live up to my raves. Such is the beauty of local foods.

But if it isn’t Grapenut Custard, I’m sure there is another food that just screams out: “Home” and what better way to celebrate a Snow Day then with a comforting taste of home.

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