Jessica’s Corn Pudding

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For as unconventional a life as I grew up in I have always felt like I was a bit of a traditionalist and sentimentalist. I love tradition and ritual. I love holidays! I love the lights of Christmas, the latkes and candles of Chanukah, and a giant meal with loved ones on Thanksgiving. I have fond memories of playing a version of football with my uncles and cousins on Jomar Drive in Napa; and of Thanksgivings spent on a farm in upstate New York with Zelda’s family; and cooking next to one of my oldest and dearest friends for years in her kitchen in Pennsylvania.

I am very fortunate to have a number of friends from my youth, decades of friendship stretched over distance but still bound tight with instant love and familiarity when we see each other again. My mother always said the mark of a real friendship was its ability to seamlessly pick up when you see the other person despite time or space. Two of these friends are Zelda’s nieces whom I met when we were 5 or 6 on their farm in upstate New York, and a lifelong friendship began. We spent weeks of the summer together and for a few years a week in February. I loved the farm and my days with them milking cows, making up songs, playing in Aunt Rose’s house and imagining a life that was so different from the one I lived in San Francisco. Our friendship stretched through our childhood and into adolescence, it moved through college, and into our 20s and 30s. I was honored to be at their weddings and watch as they had children and find my own friendship with their daughters and son. I spent many a Thanksgiving with Jessica and her family as it grew in Pennsylvania, baking pies late into the night and then delicately moving around each other the next day as we cooked a giant traditional feast. I loved the way we both talked and didn’t as we chopped and mixed ingredients and washed the never-ending stacks of dishes.

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Jessica is one of those special friends you find in life, one who grows with you and continues to grow through changes and triumphs and defeats. She is one of the kindest and most generous spirits I know. She is humble and gracious. She is warm and encouraging and wise. She is observant and honest. She is one of the best mothers I know and I have watched her for years in awe and hoped that someday I can be a fraction of the mother she is. It was an honor to stand with her on the day she got married and to hold each of her 4 daughters as babies. I have always felt grateful to have a friend like Jessica in my life because she is the truest definition that I know of what a friend should be – a person who you go through life with, a person who you hold in your heart and you know holds you in theirs not for a few days or years but for a lifetime.

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This past year Jessica was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) she has taken on the hardest part of her life the way she has taken on everything else I have seen her take on – with truthfulness, acceptance, determination, and faith. She has undergone 6 months of chemo, surgery, and now radiation. I have been inspired so many times in life by Jessica and this past year has been another example of how much I admire her. She is so open and honest in sharing this journey, she writes beautifully about the experience and has bared both her fears and her faith. She is one of the most optimistic and realistic people at the same time. I have been moved by her fight and her resilience, how she is handling this with such grace and inspiration.

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I have been thankful for her friendship for so many decades but this year I felt particularly thankful to have her in this world and in my life. In the years that we shared Thanksgiving she always made this corn pudding that I loved and then one year she wrote the recipe on a card to send me home with it along with leftovers. The last few years I have made her corn pudding to everyone’s enjoyment and found that for me it feels like the quintessential Thanksgiving dish – filled with butter, sour cream, corn, imbued with a history of friendship, and then lovingly baked in a casserole until warm and brown. I texted with Jessica on Thanksgiving morning and told her I was making her corn pudding, I thought of her as I mixed the ingredients together, and I thought of our many years of friendship and what I hope is many more years of love and sharing as I ate the corn pudding cold directly from the fridge on Friday morning.

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Perhaps it is the sentimental side of me that loves tradition, it’s the side of me that likes to feel the history and years fold up on each other in a single recipe and the way it can bring back a lifetime of memories and love. I am lucky to call Jessica my friend, I have been lucky to call her a friend for over 30 years, and I will continue to feel lucky to call her a friend as we move forward into future years of life together.

Love,

Ra

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Jessica’s Corn Pudding

Ingredients:

1 stick butter

2 eggs

2 cans cream style corn

8oz of sour cream or milk

1 box of Jiffy muffin mix (8 ½ oz)

  • Pre heat oven to 350°
  • Melt butter in 13x9x2 inch baking dish
  • Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and mix well.
  • Add the butter to the combined ingredients and mix again.
  • Pour into the pan that melted butter and bake for 45 min – 1 hour until golden brown and set.
  • Enjoy hot, room temperature, or cold the next day.

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11 2016

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  1. Jessica #
    1

    I treasure our friendship so much, Ra! Thank you for your kind and generous words. The corn pudding looks delicious!



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