Have you made tapioca pudding lately? If so, where did you find the box of Kraft tapioca (aside from the back of a shelf in your kitchen)?
Two weeks ago I desperately needed tapioca. My friend Harley Chick was recovering from very serious emergency surgery while on vacation in her motorhome. She and Hot Rod Russ had been heading to Florida, but on day three of the trip she ended up in a hospital in North Carolina. She would be travelling home in a few days and, because she could only eat soft foods, I had the bright idea to make her a vat of tapioca pudding because she’d been living on mashed potatoes and pureed carrots.
I hadn’t made tapioca pudding in about thirty years, if ever, so off I went to Walmart for the first time in a month.
I couldn’t find tapioca. After roaming up and down several aisles, I looked it up on my phone. My Walmart site told me what aisle it was in (the baking aisle) and that they had eight boxes.
They lied. I had already spent long minutes roaming up and down that aisle. Lucky for me, the store was practically deserted so I could take my time and study every shelf.
So I ended up doing what everyone does when desperate: I went home and ordered it on Amazon.
Did you know that “large pearl” tapioca is a big deal and an ingredient for something called “bubble tea”? I didn’t. There are many flavors of this, but I ordered my box of Kraft Minute Tapioca and all was right with the world.
Two days later, as Harley Chick’s motor home was chugging into Rhode Island, I was ready to create. This had to be non-dairy, so of course I went on Pinterest and found a recipe for Vegan Tapioca Pudding using almond milk.
It was quite a process, and in the end it tasted like glue. It wasn’t the almond milk’s fault, though. Honest.
I tried again, this time using a recipe recommended by friend whose mother made it this way. On the back of the box there’s a recipe called “Fluffy Tapioca” which basically involves beating egg whites and boiling everything else.
It turned out okay. And worthy of Harley Chick. But it wasn’t the creamy pudding I remembered from childhood.
Harley Chick said it was delicious, but she is a sweet, kind soul who would never say anything negative about a gift.
A few days later I noticed there was another recipe, this time on the side of the box. It was very, very simple and I couldn’t resist trying it. Banjo Man might find it to be the perfect snack while he was recovering from his own surgery.
We both liked it enough to eat the whole pan.
And now I was out of tapioca again, so I returned to Amazon–the place from where all things come–and ordered a bag of Bob’s Red Mill tapioca pearls. Bob has a recipe on his package, too. Do I dare try it?
Version #4 coming next week, when Banjo Man is home from the hospital and needs comfort food.
If you have The Perfect Tapioca Pudding Recipe and want to share, please do. Harley Chick is on the mend, but I’m going to make her another batch to see if I can get it right.
Wish me luck.