Yesterday Fish was reading Calvin and Hobbes and he came across the comic where Calvin offers a bowl of lukewarm tapioca to the television god, saying it represents his brain. We all had a good chuckle as he read it aloud. Then Fish asked, "what's tapioca?"
I went and got a bag of tapioca pearls from the pantry, thinking he would recognize it. He looked puzzled.
So I decided we would make tapioca pudding as an impromptu homeschool lesson. (Isn't homeschool great? )
The bag of tapioca pearls had a recipe on it, so I started some soaking per their instructions. And I realized that I had never made tapioca pudding before. I have used tapioca to thicken fruit sauces and I have used it as a gentle exfoliant in homemade soaps, but I had never yet made actual creamy tapioca pudding.
I didn't read the instructions carefully before we got going, and so once we were into the process I discovered with surprise that we were both separating eggs and making a merengue. Way more fiddly than I ever thought tapioca pudding would be, but a good cooking lesson for my budding chef Fish. We folded merengue into custard and ended up with a very creamy, delicious treat. It was definitely a gourmet tapioca pudding, especially with fresh nutmeg grated on top.
Now the kids know what tapioca pudding is. And I know that it's something I want to make again! (Though I bet there's a simpler recipe out there.)